8 of the Biggest TikTok Scams To Watch Out For

Many people started watching TikTok for dance and commentary videos. With audiences growing, scammers have found new ways to reach them.
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TikTok has become a wildly popular social media platform. It has over one billion active users and is available in over 150 countries. Needless to say, TikTok is a popular app and a big target for cybercriminals.

One way to avoid TikTok scams (and other online scams) is to get familiar with what they look like. We’ll cover the most common TikTok scams found on the app, including:

  • Easy money offers and fake giveaways
  • Duplicated celebrity and influencer accounts
  • Romance scams
  • Bot accounts
  • Phishing
  • Adult content scams
  • Bogus products and services
  • Promoted scam apps

You’ll learn some practical tips on how you can avoid getting tricked by scammers if any come your way. Keep reading to learn about these common TikTok scams and what to do if you've been scammed on TikTok, including investing in the best antivirus software.

In this article
Who is being targeted by TikTok scams?
Most common TikTok scams
1. Easy money offers and fake giveaways
2. Duplicated celebrity and influencer accounts
3. Romance scams
4. Bot accounts
5. Phishing
6. Adult content scams
7. Bogus products and services
8. Promoted scam apps
What to do if you’ve been scammed on TikTok
Tips to stay safe on TikTok
TikTok scam FAQs
Bottom line

Who is being targeted by TikTok scams?

With TikTok skyrocketing to over a billion users since it first arrived in 2017, it’s no surprise that scammers would want to jump onboard. Many of these people create fake accounts to lure you into providing sensitive information to commit identity theft.

Kids under 14 have been some of the biggest targets for TikTok scammers. That may be why many parents feel that kids on social media are unsafe. They worry about privacy issues.

Other people who are often targeted by TikTok scams are the ones looking for love and those looking to make a fast buck. With the platform widening its audience, anyone could be duped by these cybercriminals.

Most common TikTok scams

There’s a multitude of TikTok scams that can reach the platform’s audience. It can range from making easy money to fake accounts that promise true romance. Some scammers even claim to be celebrities or influencers.

With some knowledge of how these scammers work, you can dodge their unscrupulous methods. Even though these con artists are creative, you don’t have to get caught off guard. Below are some of the most common TikTok scams. If some of these appear, you may recognize them before they can do any damage.

1. Easy money offers and fake giveaways

Many people are susceptible to the chance of making easy money. With this scam, the criminal will lure you in with claims of large financial rewards for a little effort on your part. Many times, these accounts will also promise that if you do what it asks, someone famous will give away a large sum of money to a random user.

When you are approached with an offer that’s too good to be true, it’s because it is. No one is going to give you tons of money or gift cards for liking, following, or sharing information on an account. Although most social media platforms don’t allow these scams, reading their terms of service can be confusing for anyone.

2. Duplicated celebrity and influencer accounts

Celebrities and influencers are often subject to impersonation. The scammers will usually duplicate aspects of the real celebrity’s accounts. They steal this content to gain more followers.

The scammers often promote their fraudulent content once the account looks more authentic. One of the scams they use is to try and convince users to invest in cryptocurrency. They may even claim to give away donations to charity.

Look for any red flags when it comes to these accounts. That could be bad grammar or the imposter sending you a direct message. If you receive an enticing offer, go to the celebrity’s official website. If you don’t see any mention of it there, it’s likely a scam.

3. Romance scams

There are legitimate dating sites and apps for someone looking for a romantic connection. TikTok may not be the best place to get to know that new someone. Romance scammers will often write the sweetest words and try to hook you through psychological manipulation. They prey on people genuinely looking for love.

If you feel like your heart’s in too deep, follow what your head tells you. If something seems off, pay attention to your gut — cut ties and leave it alone. Always take things slow because scammers will profess their love quickly so they can make money fast. If you’ve never met this person in public, stay safe on social media and don’t exchange money. You can also copy and paste texts and enter them in a search engine to see if anyone else has come across this game player.

4. Bot accounts

Bots are automated accounts that interact with you through a preprogrammed script. Since they’re designed to be sophisticated, it may take you a while to realize there are no good intentions. The goal is to communicate with you long enough to redirect you to a website that can infect your device or fool you into giving up sensitive information like your bank account details.

If you sense that you’ve been targeted by a bot, try to identify unusual phrases when chatting. You may also get weird demands that don’t make sense to you. Try not to interact with a stranger on TikTok, and if you find you’ve been chatting with one, cut off the communication.

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5. Phishing

You may receive a TikTok phishing email in your inbox offering to verify a badge, give you more followers, or sponsor you in some way. If you click on the link, you’ll be redirected to another site asking for your TikTok login information. Once you give your credentials over, the hackers will have control of your account. They may even lock you out of the account altogether.

If you get random emails, the best thing to do is not open them. If you do open the emails and think it could be a phishing attempt, don’t click on the link.

6. Adult content scams

These scams will often offer to show you videos or pictures of an adult nature if you pay for them. They may even offer to direct you to another social media platform. These accounts will advertise adult dating websites, which are sometimes the ones paying the scammers to trick people. Many times the pictures and videos you see have been stolen from other accounts.

The ultimate goal of the adult content scam is to steal your credit card information. The criminals will promise premium content for your money. The easiest way to avoid this is by not releasing your financial information on social media.

7. Bogus products and services

Since TikTok launched its marketplace, it has given vendors ways to sell items at a reduced price. The problem is, the actual product is often not what was advertised. After the goods have been purchased, the seller may disappear from TikTok. Other times, the product is no longer offered. At times, the posers pretend to be real brands like L.L. Bean or Wayfair.

If something sells for an unbelievable price, it may be best not to trust it. Don’t waste your money on a bogus product. Also, make sure you buy only from reputable places you’ve heard about and ones with a blue checkmark by the account name. Those accounts are verified by TikTok as genuine businesses.

TikTok contains fake accounts that may promote scam apps. These accounts try to convince you to download the app, which you may have to pay for, and you may end up with a virus on your device after installation. You could also be spammed with ads or malware that steals your data.

Don’t download random apps you don’t know anything about. They will often charge you for the same services you can get for free somewhere else. Read reviews of all apps in your app store before you download them. If you see low ratings, that’s a warning sign.

What to do if you’ve been scammed on TikTok

Sometimes good people get scammed by bad imitators. It happens to the best of us, even when we are diligent about online safety. Some of these accounts seem legitimate, and it can be difficult to tell the difference.

Fortunately, if you’ve been the target of a TikTok scammer, there are steps for you to mitigate the damage. If you’ve gotten scammed, remember to take these steps as soon as possible:

  1. Report the incident to TikTok.
  2. Change your password for TikTok.
  3. If you’ve lost money, consider contacting the police.
  4. If you’ve given any banking information out, call your financial institution and report it immediately.

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Tips to stay safe on TikTok

Being on social media can be a fun experience. It allows you to engage with others and provides tons of entertainment. When you apply some tips to protect yourself, you won’t have to worry as much about getting scammed. With cybercriminals looking at the most popular social media platforms, TikTok is a target-rich environment.

Keep your account private so fewer users can see it. Only allow your friends to send you messages, so you don’t get emails from a stranger.

You can also invest in antivirus software, which often comes with phishing protection. Here are some antivirus apps with perfect third-party test scores and anti-phishing features: 

  • Norton: Norton Mobile Security scans for app security, internet security, Wi-Fi security, and device security to ensure your iPhone or Android is protected from various cyberthreats. 
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  • Avast: You can download Avast Security & Privacy, Avast One, and Avast Secure Browser for iOS and Android. All three apps have over 4.5 stars on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
    Get Avast | Read Our Avast Review

  • Bitdefender: Bitdefender has apps for iOS and Android as well as a free app for Android users, so you can try it risk-free before committing to a paid plan.
    Get Bitdefender | Read Our Bitdefender Review

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Steer clear of email links from users you don’t know. Even if it looks like a TikTok link, it could be a virus. Take security a step further with two-factor authentication. That helps keep hackers from resetting your password to access your account.

Remember, celebrities and TikTok will never contact you asking for money or your account credentials. You can report scammers to TikTok and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

TikTok scam FAQs


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Are there a lot of fake accounts on TikTok?

There are a lot of fake accounts on TikTok. Over 21 million fake profiles were removed in the first quarter of 2022.


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Why are there bots on TikTok?

There are bots on TikTok in many cases to make money. Automation tools help to grow an audience, which earns more income.


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What does a fake TikTok link look like?

A fake TikTok link may have a subtle misspelling in it. If you’re not careful, you may not notice it at first. For example, it may come to you as “TikTik” instead of “TikTok.”

You may also see extra characters in the address. An example might be www.allaboutcookies.com.cookiesettings.com, rather than simply www.allaboutcookies.com.


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How can I report scams on TikTok?

You can report scams directly to TikTok from the Settings and Privacy section on your account. You can click on Report a problem and submit the details.

Bottom line

As the audience of TikTok’s platform has grown, so have the scammers who want to take advantage of its popularity. That may seem a bit overwhelming, but remember, there are ways you can protect yourself, like being aware of how these cybercriminals work.

Don’t buy products or exchange money if something appears too good to be true. Keep your TikTok account private and only accept messages from your friends or people you know.

TikTok can be an entertaining app, and you can even learn some things while you’re on the platform. With our safety tips, you can enjoy being on social media while keeping your online presence secure. For more recommendations to protect your smartphone, check out our list of the best antivirus software for iPhone.

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Author Details
Patti Croft is a seasoned writer who specializes in all things technology. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and carries a wealth of hands-on experience thanks to her background as a technical analyst and security specialist.