How to recognize and evade booming TikTok scams

A hand holding a smartphone with a TikTok symbol shown on the screen.

If you are a fan of social media, there is no way that you haven’t heard about TikTok. TikTok is an excellent video-based social networking app forecasted to reach 755 million monthly users in 2022.


Despite TikTok’s growing popularity, this platform is no stranger to dubious individuals and scammers. Like any social network, TikTok can be exploited for criminal actions, like fraud and swindling money out of users. Thus, let’s discuss the common scams and vicious tricks that you might get exposed to on TikTok.

Top TikTok scams to avoid

First, we all know that TikTok videos find their way to YouTube Shorts and other video-based platforms. However, did you know that their appearance is likely illegal? Scammers steal videos from legitimate TikTok creators and post them as their own.

It is also likely that such stolen digital assets will be used to promote questionable services, like selling marked-up goods. By using engaging videos from TikTok creators, scammers can get viewers on YouTube Shorts to click on less than reliable links.

Duplicate apps

One of the well-known scams is fake apps. In India, after the ban on TikTok, users received text messages that allowed them to install TikTok on their phones like a pro version of the app. Though the app seemed legitimate at first, later, it was suspected to be malware. On top of this, the app required permissions to use the camera and mic of the phone.

In short, it was a cheap trick to get access to sensitive user information. Therefore, you need to be aware of such scams. Do not tap on any random link you receive in a message or ad.

If TikTok becomes unavailable in your region or on a local network, you can always regain access safely. A Virtual Private Network can unblock TikTok for you most practically and seamlessly. All you need to do is connect to a VPN server and mask your IP address. This change lets you access services, including social media, that might unexpectedly render unavailable.

Fraud celebrity accounts

If you have an account on TikTok and see any celebrity-like account in your suggestions, it is better to verify it first.

Many fake accounts may look like the original celebrity’s account, but they are not. Though there is no perfect way to identify them, scammers have made them identical by stealing information. If they ask you to invest in some crypto scheme or ask for your personal information, you can tell the difference.

If you find something suspicious like this, block and unfollow the account.

Bot accounts

You might have been interacting with one of these accounts right now.

A bot account is a fake account that does not belong to a real person but interacts with you like one. The best way to counteract an account like this is by checking if it asks you about any sensitive information.

Once you notice something like this, go for blocking the account or unfollowing it.

Like and follower trap

If you are new to TikTok and looking to expand your userbase, you need to be extra careful. This scam is targeted at new users and those looking for more followers. In return for more followers and likes, you must pay the scammer.

Two things can happen in these scenarios such as:

  • You will not get any followers, and your money will go down the drain.
  • You will get followers, but all of them will be fake or bot accounts. Your money will again go down the drain in this case.

Explicit content websites

There have been many practices that focus on keeping users away from adult content. But scammers somehow find a way to keep them alive. One way is through TikTok.

Scammers steal some private images of people and post them on TikTok to lure users. The interested users are directed to an external website where their information gets compromised, or they intentionally pay for premium content.

Though user consent is a factor here, it is still one of the common TikTok scams.

Ways to keep these scams at bay

As you are aware of the scams, let’s find out the solutions!

  1. Don’t click on any unknown link. Ensure that you do not click on any unknown link as it can lead you to an infected website.
  2. Follow genuine accounts. If someone claims to be a celebrity, check out their profile to confirm. For instance, videos should be taken specifically for TikTok, not just snippets from movies.
  3. Do not believe in highly tempting offers. Some scammers will convince you that their input will help you get dozens of followers. Please do not fall for them, as you might spend money on good-for-nothing bot accounts.

Share only the required information. It will be best to share only the information needed on your TikTok account. The addition of extra information can put you in trouble.

How to recognize and evade booming TikTok scams
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Bibliography ►

phoneia.com (February 4, 2022). How to recognize and evade booming TikTok scams. Bogotá: E-Cultura Group. Recovered from https://phoneia.com/en/how-to-recognize-and-evade-booming-tiktok-scams/