Don’t be fooled by the allure of fast cash from cryptocurrency touted by TikTok users, experts say. Chances are it’s a scam.
The Better Business Bureau sounded the alarm of a growing number of con artists using TikTok to reel victims into cryptocurrency scams, which could lose people hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
“Watch out for this TikTok scam, which promises to turn a few hundred dollars worth of cryptocurrency into thousands in no time at all,” the BBB said in a news release.
Many of the scam videos on TikTok start the same way: Someone flaunts a stack of cash to catch the viewer’s eye and explains that they got rich by investing in cryptocurrency. Scammers try to convince victims that they can get rich quickly, too, with just a few simple steps.
“The creator says they earned the stack of money in just a few days by investing in cryptocurrency,” the BBB said about the scam. “You may not know much about cryptocurrency, but this ‘investor’ can help you get the same kind of return for a modest fee. Better yet, they have a 100% guarantee that they can triple your money in less than a week.”
Eventually, the scammers will try to convince victims to hand over fees and payments via online wallets such as Paypal, Zelle or Venmo, according to the BBB. Once you give the scammers your money, it’s gone, the organisation says.
“Scammers try to extend this con for as long as possible to get as much money as they can. They may ask for fees several times, always promising you will get much more back than what you are spending,” the BBB said. “If you question them, they may resort to scare tactics, telling you that if you don’t pay, you’ll miss out on the giant return or that they can take legal action”
Cybersecurity expert Chris Hamer told WJXT that people should have the same mentality about their money online as they would in person.
“If you’re walking down the street and somebody comes up to you and says I can double your money, just give me 20 bucks and I will give you 40 dollars back just as soon as I get back. Are you going to give it to them? Probably not,” Hamer told WJXT.
Tips to avoid crypto scams
The BBB encouraged TikTok and other social media users to take the following precautions to steer clear of crypto scams:
“Use good judgment. Get-rich-quick schemes and investments that are guaranteed to give you a huge return are nearly always scams. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
“Do your research. Before you contact someone through TikTok or another social media platform, look up their name, phone number, and company name (if they have one) online. If they have conned others, you’ll likely find complaints online about it.”
“Don’t give into scare tactics. If an “investor” contacts you, they may try to convince you the investment will only work if you act right now. Or, if you’ve already sent them funds, they may threaten you with legal action if you don’t pay their fees. In any case, don’t give in to scare tactics. Recognise them as the hallmarks of a scam.”
“Understand how digital wallet services work. Treat any money you send through a digital wallet service like cash. Once you send the money, there will be little you can do to get it back if it turns out you were scammed. It’s best to use these apps only with people you know and trust.”
If you’ve been scammed by these kinds of tactics before, you can report the scam to the BBB’s Scam Tracker online, to help others be on the lookout. – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service