Brand Protection
5 mins

How to report fake accounts on TikTok and protect your brand from scammers

How to report fake accounts on TikTok and protect your brand from scammers
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Tiktok is now the fastest-growing social media platform with over one million monthly active users. Over 90 percent of TikTok users access it on a daily basis and almost 50% of the users are between the age of 10-29. 

But given the meteoric rise in TikTok’s popularity, it comes as absolutely no surprise that scammers have made it their home base. TikTok fake accounts are coming up in large numbers and many of them are impersonating businesses

In this article, we discuss:

  • Why do people make fake accounts on TikTok?
  • Most common TikTok scams 
  • How to report fake accounts on TikTok
  • Best practices to protect your business identity on TikTok

Why do people make fake accounts on TikTok?

The popularity of TikTok has made it a prime spot for businesses to improve their brand reputation and sales. But at the same time, this has also led to a lot of fake accounts and impersonators cropping up on TikTok to take advantage of the unsuspecting customers on the social media platform.

In fact, according to a report, Gucci is the most counterfeited luxury brand on TikTok with over 13.6 million views on its branded hashtags, followed by Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Chanel.

There can be many reasons why people make spam accounts on TikTok like: 

  • Brand impersonation to fool users and steal their private as well as financial information
  • Selling fake products and counterfeits online to innocent customers
  • Squatting on a business’s official name to either sell it back to the business for a profit or impersonate the business by faking its brand identity
  • Defaming a business to profit a competitor

Whatever the reason may be, fake accounts on TikTok can severely affect the reputation of your business. “Brands should be aware of impersonators on TikTok whether they have a presence on the platform or not,” says VP Joan Porta of Red Points.

Most common TikTok scams 

One of the main reasons why people create fake accounts on TikTok is to pull off scams and fool other users. Here are the most common TikTok scams

Scam/ fake apps 

Fake accounts on TikTok can share and promote fraud apps through suspicious and spam links. The accounts can make misleading claims about fake apps in order to get people to download it. The links are either spam completely or they can lead users to download apps that install malware on the phone to access the personal details of users and steal their data.

Impersonation 

Fake accounts can impersonate celebrities or even brands to scam other users. Most scammers are so good at impersonation that they end up replicating the entire account by stealing the existing content and then reaching out to unsuspecting users. There are many ways scammers can steal through impersonation, including:

  • Exclusive tickets to meet and greets, and private concerts
  • Donations for charity
  • Pyramid schemes that sound like a surefire investment
  • Processing fee/ shipping fee for a huge prize giveaway 

More followers and likes

Fake accounts that have a large following or impersonate other TikTok users reach out to smaller accounts with the offer to increase their likes and followers. The fake accounts usually guarantee a shoutout to help users get an increase in their following in exchange for payment. But once these scammers receive payments, the fake accounts disappear or they just block the users that paid them.

TikTok email phishing 

In this, scammers get access to email addressees of TikTok users and reach out to them for sponsorship deals, a verified badge promise, or just increase in the number of followers. But when you click on the link attached in the email, you are redirected to a scam website that looks like the TikTok website which asks for your login credentials or other personal information. As soon as you enter your details, scammers get access to it and your account.

How to report fake accounts on TikTok

TikTok’s community guidelines lay out strict regulations against impersonations and fake accounts. Any user not following these guidelines risks suspension or completely losing their account. 

Here are the main policies against scams, impersonation, and IP violations:

Frauds and scams: TikTok does not allow anyone to bring any kind of personal or financial harm to its users. Content that deceives people to gain a personal or financial advantage over them can be removed. 

You cannot share, post, or upload content that promotes or depicts:

  • Phishing
  • Pyramid schemes, multi-level marketing, or Ponzi schemes 
  • Investment schemes that promise fixed betting or high returns

Impersonation: Tiktok does not allow accounts to pose as another person or entity by using someone else’s name and profile picture. When an impersonation report gets confirmed, the user’s account can get suspended or banned entirely. 

Although, TikTok does allow commentary, parody, or fan accounts as long as the user clearly indicates in their bio that they are in no way affiliated or associated with the main subject of their account.

Intellectual property theft or violations: TikTok upholds the copyrights and trademarks of users. Any content that infringes on a person’s intellectual property is prohibited entirely on the platform and it can get removed, once TikTok becomes aware of it. 

Though, important to note that TikTok allows the use of copyrighted work under the fair use doctrine for commenting, criticizing, parodying, and reviewing

Step by step guide to report fake accounts on TikTok

Since TikTok does not actively take down fake accounts, you have to manually report them.

1- Go to the profile of the fake or the impersonating account that you want to report

2- Tap on the three dots on the top right corner of the screen

3- Select the ‘Report’ option

4- Choose ‘report account’

5- Further, select the ‘Pretending to be someone else’

6- If you are reporting from the account that is being impersonated, choose ‘me’ directly. If you are reporting on behalf of your brand/organization, choose ‘celebrity’ and type in the account id that is being infringed.

7- Submit your report

8- When TikTok verifies your report and finds it to be true, the account will be subsequently removed.   

Best practices to protect your business identity on TikTok

Establishing your business presence on TikTok has become more important than ever with the growing user base and the popularity of the social media platform.

Look out for counterfeits

Slowly and steadily TikTok has become a huge base for counterfeit products – fake accounts crop up one day and disappear the next day before you can even report them or take any legal action against them. 

Monitor your brand hashtags on TikTok to ensure there aren’t any counterfeit products of your business being sold online. 

To safeguard your business, you can also mention all the official retail channels of your business and state that you do not sell directly through TikTok. 

Search for fake imitation accounts and squatters

Imitation accounts pretend to be the official account of businesses to fool unsuspecting customers. When users search for your business on the TikTok app, they may unknowingly be led to a fake account that appears to be authentic. 

Many of the scammers use account handle names like [brand name]_official or official_[brand name] to look genuine. 

While TikTok offers verified badges for authentic brand accounts, there is no direct way to request them. You just have to wait for TikTok to verify you. 

So, the only way to protect your business is by constantly searching for fake imitation accounts and taking them down manually. It’s always a good idea to reach out to the account owners first to request them to transfer the account back to you. If that doesn’t work, you can report the account to TikTok.

Protect your IP

When you are reporting fake accounts to TikTok, you may have to prove that the business name or the content on the fake accounts belongs to your business. That can only be possible if you own all the intellectual property of your business. 

While copyrights help you protect original works of authorship, trademarks protect your brand name, logo, and official colors. 

Protecting your intellectual property means when a scammer does end up creating a fake account with the name of your business, you have the ability to take legal action against them.

What’s next

With the vast popularity of social media platforms and the growing cybercrimes, protecting your business identity has become more important than ever. 

But you don’t need to manually scourge through the ends of TikTok to find fake accounts, instead, you can use a brand protection and revenue recovery platform like Red Points to help you through the way.

See how Red Points can protect your brand identity on social media

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