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TikTok is used by billions of users who love to share ideas, music, interests, and much more. The app can be a great way to find a niche of people who share the same interests as you, and in many cases, romance can bloom. Online romances are quite common in today’s digital age; however, many people are unaware of the dangers that can come from them. This blog will discuss how TikTok dating scams work and how to keep yourself safe.
TikTok dating scams usually are all the same. They consist of a romance scammer that disguises their identity through stolen photos of an attractive woman or man. They then contact as many random TikTok accounts as possible and initiate conversation. They’ll “butter up” their potential victims with compliments and confess their attraction to them. That is when the scam can head in two different directions: romance scam or sextortion.
In romance scams, the scammer will push for a relationship with their victim. Claim they have genuine feelings and want to plan on meeting and starting a future with them. This is a lie and a ploy to get their victims to reciprocate feelings and build trust. This is when they will begin to ask their victim for financial assistance. They will first ask for gifts like phones or jewelry, then make up lies that they need help paying their bills and essentials.
Since the victim thinks they are in a real relationship, they have no problem lending money to a loved one. The requests for money will be small but frequent, and if the victim can no longer help or wants to end the relationship, that is when the scammer drops the act and shows their true colors. They threaten to expose any secrets or sexual content the victim has shared if they do not receive more money. This is financially and emotionally damaging for victims and can become a cycle.
Sextortion is similar to romance scams but different because scammers do not pretend to want to pursue a relationship with their victims. Instead, they go straight to sexual advances and express their sexual attraction. They quickly bring up the idea of exchanging sexual content. Once victims give in to the temptation, the scammer threatens to expose their nude photos and videos to their social media friends list, including their family and friends, if their ransom isn’t paid.
Yes, meeting new people with similar interests on TikTok can be exciting. However, you have to keep in mind that it’s very easy for people to create fake profiles and pretend to be whomever they want to be. Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to TikTok dating scams.
When you come across someone who you think is worth getting to know better, it pays to do your homework first. A quick search online can tell you if any reports of fraudulent activity are associated with that user. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask them questions about themselves — doing so can bring out some interesting information that might save you a lot of hassle later on if you find them changing their story.
You can also do a background check on them to make sure they even exist. Lots of scammers steal different parts of people’s lives and combine them. Background checks can help you determine if they are whom they say they are.
It’s essential to trust your gut regarding online interactions; if something feels off or too good to be true, it likely is! Be wary of any user who requests money upfront or offers a large sum in exchange for favors — these are common signs of a scammer. Additionally, avoid any user eager to exchange sexual content and continues to pressure you to share intimate details of yourself.
Scammers will often try to move the relationship to a serious one quickly. This gives them more opportunities to ask for your personal information, such as your bank account details, address, or Social Security number. If someone you’ve just met online is asking for this kind of information too quickly, they’re likely trying to scam you. Be wary, and keep all information private if you feel uncomfortable doing so.
Dating scams are becoming increasingly common on social media platforms like TikTok. To protect yourself from potential scammers and heartache down the line, it pays to take certain precautions, such as researching and being wary of red flags and of anyone who wants a relationship too quickly. Following these guidelines will help ensure that your experiences with online dating remain positive!
TikTok dating scams can disrupt lives, so seeking help as soon as possible is critical! If you have any more questions, contact one of our representatives on the sextortion Helpline to see how Digital Forensics can help you.
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