TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms in recent years. With its massive user base, it's not surprising that scammers have found their way onto the platform to prey on unsuspecting victims. One of the most common scams on TikTok is the romance scam, where scammers try to get money or personal information from their victims.
Romance scams are a serious issue on any social media platform, however TikTok's prevalance and useage of video creates a more believable fake account. By downloading content from other accounts or using deepfake technology, they create a fake persona that can be very believable. While they will target anyone initially, they will always attempt to establish trust by leveraging personal emotions. If they can make that initial connection, they will continue to build up your trust and make you believe they care about you and your interests. However, their ultimate goal is to extract money or personal information from their targets.
Here are five tips to help you spot a fake social media account or a romance scam:
Check the account's activity: If an account has very little activity or only follows a few accounts, it may be a fake account. If it is a new account this is also something to be concerned about. On older social media platforms - such as Facebook - there is a chance they have acquired an old account through hacking. If the old account has a long period of time where it was not used or if it has no content at all prior to recent posts, but has been active for much longer - proceed with caution when interacting with the account.
Look for inconsistencies: If an account's profile picture or information doesn't match their content, it may be a sign that the account is fake. If something feels off, trust your instinct and try to confirm any information that is provided to you through outside sources that are not connected to the person in question. Doing your own research can save you a lot of trouble.
Pay attention to their behavior: If someone is too quick to profess their love or is asking for money, it may be a sign that they are a romance scammer.
Reverse image search: If someone's profile picture appears on multiple websites, it may be a stock photo, and the account could be fake. There are ways to use different search tools on your desktop browser or on your mobile device to search images. Google Lens is available within the Google App and can search images from your phone.
Be cautious with personal information: Never share personal information, such as your address or financial information, with someone you just met online. No one should ever need to be provided with your financial or personal information within a casual or serious relationship online. Asking for this information might seem important when the scammer claims to need money for medical needs or to pay their way to visiting you in person. This urgent need for your information is a key indicator that they are looking to gain access to your information for their own benefit.
Scammers target vulnerable people who are looking for love, companionship, or in financial distress. They use profile pictures and videos of good-looking people to entice their targets. Once they have a target, they will use various tactics to make them feel special and manipulate them into thinking that they have a genuine connection. Scammers may ask for money for various reasons, such as medical emergencies, travel expenses, or unexpected bills. They may also ask for personal information, such as credit card details, IRA account information, or social security numbers.
It's essential to be cautious and vigilant when using social media, especially when it comes to romance scams. By following these tips, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these scams and enjoy your time on TikTok safely. Remember to always think twice before sharing personal information or sending money to someone you just met online. Not everyone is a scammer, but always verify things once money or your own perosnal information becomes involved.
If you believe you have been targeted or have been a victim of a romance scam, please reach out to us immediately at (888) 328-8677. We welcome and encourage these types of calls so we can help protect you and your accounts right away. If there is any question or concern, always reach out! Learn more about other scams at our Security and Fraud Center.