TikTok, social media video app popular among teens, has quickly gained 88.6 million new Indian users in the first quarter of 2019 alone. As with any new and popular platform that launches in the market, scammers would always try their luck to manipulate it for personal gains and TikTok is no exception.
Since March 2019, Satnam Narang, a senior research engineer at Tenable, has been tracking the activity of a number of scam accounts on the popular short-form video platform TikTok. The social media site’s user base took off after it merged with musical.ly in August 2018, topping 1 billion monthly active users (MAUs) earlier this year.
Given TikTok’s meteoric rise in popularity, it comes as no surprise that scammers would take notice. So far, these scams appear to be in their infancy. There is no WikiHow entry for how to create TikTok scams yet. However, it’s clear the scammers are already reaping the benefits of using the platform to accomplish one or more of the following:
- Boosting likes and followers in order to raise the popularity of a profile.
- Game the cost-per-action networks of adult dating websites that pay for qualified leads.
- Take advantage of cost-per-install networks, which offer monetary rewards to users who drive other users to install apps.
In this two-part series, Narang explores three of the most common types of scam accounts he’s been tracking, which involve one or more of the following categories:
In part one, Narang discusses on how scammers are using fake profiles to trick unsuspecting TikTok users to sign up for adult dating websites or pay for fraudulent “premium” Snapchat accounts. And in part two, he explores the tactics involved in creating imposter accounts and how these are used to increase followers and clicks , while also discussing the oldest trick in the scammer’s playbook – offering free likes and followers. We expect these activities to only increase as TikTok continues to dominate the Apple App Store marketplace, remaining at the top of the App Store Downloads page for multiple quarters, while also trailing only behind Facebook properties WhatsApp and Messenger in Overall Downloads on mobile platforms.
Click here to view complete research report on TikTok Scams: How Popular Apps and Services Become New Havens for Scammers
Click here to view complete research report How Social Currency Fuels the Economy for Impersonation Accounts and Free Followers and Likes Services