Tech security firm Tenable recently released a report showing that online scammers tend to be targeting teenagers on TikTok.
According to DigitalTrends, four types of fraudulent adverts targeting teens currently thriving on TikTok include: calling for easy money; pretending to be a celebrity to advertise products; scramble, and increase the value of the delivered goods and promise to support tuition fees.
Satnam Narang, a researcher at Tenable, said these types of fraud started developing in February before the Covid-19 outbreak. Initially, many scam groups created fake applications to trick young users who have the mentality to easily earn income. there has been a flood of diet pills in particular as well as other drugs. Then, the new form of offering free gift cards, along with the promise of high-value delivery.
About a third of TikTok’s 100 million monthly users are under the age of 14. These young people are low-income and are easily fooled by “easy money” advertisements.
Notably, Tenable’s report has a description of an app called iMoney, which claims to pay users for completing basic internet tasks like downloading other apps, playing games or even spending money on an item on Amazon and leave a review.
iMoney often creates ads on TikTok and disguises itself as another app, then also promises to help users make money quickly. Tenable found that, on average, users only make $ 0.23 per task completed and that is if they were actually paid.
The report also showed iMoney fake up to 5 different apps on the App Store. It also requires the user to download a strange certificate to the phone, or provide a driver’s license or identity card to withdraw money. All of this violates Apple’s terms of service. Many users complain about not being able to withdraw the meager amount of income they gain in the app.
The next most popular hoax was the popular cherish for diet pills. The report found these compliments were false because scammers used a lot of re-edited videos, often incorporating the presence of Oprah, Snoop Dogg, Tina Lawson and Beyoncé. They cleverly use celebrities with weight problems and use them as an example.
Satnam Narang has been studying social media scams for more than 10 years and explains that the proliferation of this problem is sure to happen as a platform grows. I hope TikTok will learn this from other big names. He also expects social networking platforms in general to look at the problem and then plan to deal with it, hiring the right people to solve it. Facebook, Apple and Amazon have been contacted by Narang about fraud situations.
TikTok’s side did not respond when asked clearly about which audience their standards apply, who or which units are allowed to advertise on the platform.