Cyber exposure company Tenable has been investigating the three main types of fraud that scammers are committing on video-sharing platform TikTok.
Senior Researcher Satnam Narang appeared on the Threatpost podcast to discuss the adult dating and impersonation scams, as well as fraudulent profiles that promise users a way to quickly get more likes and followers.
Narang tracked a number of accounts since April 2019, some of which had gained as many as 12,000 followers, and noted how they attempted to get users to sign up for adult and explicit dating websites.
Scammers use videos and images lifted from Snapchat and Instagram to tell viewers to follow certain accounts on those platforms for more explicit content. This is because TikTok only allows private messaging if users swap mobile phone numbers.
From there, people are directed to affiliate links for adult dating platforms where the fake accounts promise followers they’ll be able to see them naked. Instead, they get signed up for online dating and the scammer takes a cut of the fee.
The most lucrative scams involves victims using a credit card to become a premium member of the dating site, which costs “$50 to $60”.
However, the fraudsters tend to just focus on getting a large quantity of smaller conversions, often attracting an underage audience with mass campaigns.
Narang told Threatpost that the TikTok demographic skews young, and that once they go off-site it is impossible to protect them. Furthermore, most of these scam adult dating sites have no verification controls in place and just require an “over 18” box to be ticked.
‘For Love or Money’, a new BBC television docu-series, is set to investigate the growing trend of romance fraud in the online dating industry and will provide extensive advice about how to not become a victim.
Listen to the full podcast here.