How to spot a scam on TikTok
TikTok has become one of the largest social media platforms in the world, with over 1 billion users, and its rise in popularity isn’t slowing. With a younger audience than most, the platform solely focuses on short-form video content and has the ability to make or break a trend within minutes. When scrolling through your favourite comedians, dancers, and home-chefs, have you noticed posts advertising a ‘new’ cryptocurrency app promising financial gains, or quick cash for simply filling in surveys? There’s a good chance this is a scam, and often if a post sounds good to be true, it is.
There are several dangers posed by these posts with the possibility to lose money or to have your personal details compromised. This means it’s essential that you can spot these scams, before it’s too late. Read on to find out our best tips.
This is an example of a scam post that uses eye-catching imagery such as physical cash. In the description the account asks viewers to Direct Message them to learn more, promising a lucrative return.
Why is TikTok targeted?
TikTok is targeted for three main reasons:
- It’s incredibly popular so there are a lot of potential users to scam
- It has a particularly young audience compared to other social platforms such as Facebook and this means its user base may not be as well versed with protecting themselves against scams
- The platform itself is only four-years-old in its current form, meaning it has not yet put systems in place to stop scams appearing
How can I tell if a post is a scam?
First, it’s important to note that not all posts to do with financial tips are scams. #investtok is a popular trend which can provide investment guidance for small-time investors, and #moneysavingtipsuk has become more popular with the cost of living crisis.
When deciding if a post is a scam, your first stop should be the comments section. If a lot of them are similar and generic, e.g. ‘This really worked for me and my friends!’, ‘Wow I made £50 doing this!’, they are likely to be fake comments posted by the scammer to ‘validate’ their own post.
Another way to tell if a post is a potential scam is if they ask you to Direct Message them or provide any personal details. Personal details should never be shared via social media, because once compromised you may have to cancel your bank card or be locked out of your TikTok account, depending on if the scammer is looking for financial gain or to take control of your social account.
Finally, look out for posts which try to send you outside of the TikTok platform. A particularly popular post at the moment to watch out for is one that promises you can fill in surveys for financial gain, usually suggesting just five minutes of your time will reward you with around £10. These surveys are off-platform, and require you to share personal details. At the end instead of the promised financial pay, you will instead only receive a figure closer to 20p, and you would have potentially compromised your personal details.
It’s very important to stay safe online, and be vigilant when checking for potential scams. Social media moves at a very fast pace, so it’s important to take time to think and reflect before engaging with posts which promise financial gain.