We’ve all seen TikTok skyrocket from a small user base to one of the top social media platforms in the world. However, along with this growth, scammers have tried to use the platform to separate users from their hard-earned cash or crypto. Some scams even try to get you to download malware.
So, how can you spot a Tik Tok scam? Fortunately, most of these scams are also found on other networks, so with some knowledge, you can stay safe instead of getting separated from your crypto.
Keep reading to learn how to spot, avoid, and recover from any TikTok scammer guy while you scroll.
Understanding TikTok’s Popularity and Vulnerabilities
Have you seen anyone claim they’ve been scammed on TikTok? The rising popularity and new format have given rise to a wide range of possible scams, making it likely some of these claims are true.
Scams on the platform can take on many forms, from ads trying to get you to click on a TikTok scam link to romance scams. You need to be aware of how bad actors use the social network to try to take advantage of users in many ways.
The Landscape of TikTok Scams
TikTok scams are relatively new but involve many of the same elements as scams found on other social media platforms. TikTok tries to prevent these scams from working, but scammers will keep finding workarounds.
You are responsible for staying aware that not everything you see on the app is genuine and ensuring you keep your money, data, and crypto safe and secure. Let’s dive into what you need to know to stay safe.
Most Common TikTok Scams to Watch Out
What types of scams have become popular on TikTok? We’ve seen many of the same scams found elsewhere online re-imagined for the unique new platform. So, let’s break down the most common scams on the platform so you can avoid them.
Fake Giveaways and Easy Money
Have you ever seen a video that says you can make $500 daily in an hour or a giveaway for a high-value item?
As a general rule — if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Giveaways are more challenging to spot at first glance, but easy money will almost always be a scam.
When it comes to giveaways, sometimes the goal is simply to get your personal information. Your data is valuable by itself. But often, giveaways go a step further and ask for information they don’t need or shouldn’t be asking for at all, like your bank account information.
The best way to spot fake giveaways is to look at the account running it. Are they impersonating someone else, inflating followers/engagement, or frequently posting different giveaways with no clear winner? Avoid them entirely.
Impersonated Influencers and Celebrities
Scammers can create fake accounts that mimic authentic accounts of influencers or celebrities to scam people. Scammers will copy the bio, profile pic, and anything else they can to appear genuine.
What do they do from there? Any other scams on this list can be carried out once they have your confidence and trust.
Other scams you might see from impersonated scams involve asking you to donate to charity, but the link they give is a scammer’s site or crowdfunding campaign. They might also sell bootleg products or never send you anything at all.
The main takeaway from impersonation scams is to do your best to make sure any celebrity or influencer account is the actual account before doing anything they might be asking you to do.
Bot Accounts to Inflate Metrics
Every social media platform can fall victim to bot accounts, and TikTok is no exception. One of the main ways scammers use bots is to flood a post with likes and views so it seems more genuine.
For example, if you see a TikTok asking you to download an app, but it has three likes and 20 views, you’ll probably ignore it. But if that same video has hundreds of thousands of views and thousands of likes, you might think it’s legit.
Ultimately, a wide range of scams are assisted by bots that inflate crucial metrics, so regular users take TikTok seriously.
Romance scams happen on any social media platform as an unfortunate side effect of connecting people. This term is an umbrella term for any scam involving gaining a user’s confidence by pretending to show some type of affection.
All it takes is a fake TikTok account with stolen pics; some users will think they’re talking to someone they’re attracted to. From there, it’s only a matter of time until the scammer asks for money, often in the form of crypto or gift cards. They may also ask for gifts.
You must do everything possible to verify the authenticity of anyone you might be talking to romantically. Ask to call them, ask to do a video call, or ask for pics with your name written on something.
Malware or Scam Apps
You’ve probably seen people asking, “Are ads on TikTok scams?” Sometimes, they sell lower-quality products, but other times, they’re much more malicious — they get you to install malware.
App ads are common on TikTok and are often authentic ads. However, the advertised apps sometimes infect your form with any type of malware, likely to siphon off all your passwords and sensitive data.
We’ll break down how to spot these ads in the next section, but for now, just be aware that every ad for an app needs to be investigated before you install it.
Fake or Bad Quality Products
Can you get scammed on TikTok Shop? The platform has taken precautions against scams that take your money and never ship the product. However, selling bad quality or bootlegged products in these shops is still possible.
Like other scams, the best way to protect yourself is to investigate the account selling the items thoroughly. Read comments, look for any warning signs in the bio, and ensure you’ll get what you expect.
Staying Safe on TikTok: Best Tips
So, how can you protect yourself against the above scams and any other ones that may emerge? The following tips will help you avoid scams and have a great experience on the platform.
Be Cautious with App Ads
Plenty of genuine apps advertise on TikTok, but there’s also malware or otherwise misleading apps advertising on the platform.
Take the time to investigate the app’s listing in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. How many downloads does it have? What about the ratings and reviews? This information helps you determine if it’s a legit or fake app.
Avoid any apps that are not on official app stores. Android allows you to install .apk files, but you should never download one you find through a TikTok ad — it’s almost certainly malware.
Understand Metrics Can Be Misleading
Even without bots, metrics can give you the wrong idea about how genuine something is. The ad might be fooling other users, so they give it a like or comment.
Of course, TikToks with bot-inflated likes are the more common problem. Fake likes make it appear more genuine by giving it social proof and making it more convincing.
It’s hard to spot a botted video on your own, so the main thing to remember is that many views and likes don’t necessarily mean it’s a legitimate user. Always be cautious with any post or ad asking you to click a link, buy a product, or send money — regardless of likes.
Do Your Best to Check the Authenticity
Romance, impersonation, and malware ads are all types of scams you can help prevent by looking closer at the account before taking action.
Check the comments on posts; if comments are disabled, that’s a big red flag. Look for videos of the person talking about the scam, and ask for additional proof if you’re talking to them directly.
Have You Been Scammed Out of Crypto? Lionsgate Can Help
The first thing you should do if you get scammed is report the problem to TikTok. Depending on the scam, they might be able to help you, but if not, you’ll at least help protect other users by making TikTok aware of the scammer.
If the scam involved emptying your crypto wallets through malware or romance scams, TikTok won’t be able to reclaim your crypto. Instead, you must work with a crypto recovery agency to recover stolen funds.
Lionsgate is an industry-leading crypto recovery agency with the right blend of legal, blockchain, and cybersecurity expertise to help recover stolen cryptocurrency. We’ve helped past clients pursue legal action against different scammers to recover lost coins.
Have you been scammed and lost your cryptocurrency? Contact Lionsgate today for a free consultation to discover how we can help.