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How to report fake accounts on TikTok and protect your brand from scammers
Brand Protection
7 mins

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

Table of Contents:

    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 create fake 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.

    Red Points' business impersonation removal

    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 TikTok 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 addresses of TikTok users and reach out to them for sponsorship deals, a verified badge promise, or just an 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.

    Self-help guide 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 TikTok 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 and impersonations 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 TikTok 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 ‘Pretending to be someone else’.

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

    7- Submit your report for a fake TikTok account.

    8- When TikTok verifies your report and finds it to be true, the fake 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 TikTok 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 or impersonation to TikTok.

    Protect your intellectual property on TikTok

    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 TikTok account with the name of your business, you have the ability to take legal action against them.

    How busy execs tackle impersonations on TikTok (with Red Points)

    Red Points is a Revenue Recovery platform. We help businesses recover revenue lost to scammers and impersonators on social media sites like TikTok. 

    Trawling through hundreds of TikTok accounts looking for possible impersonators is not an efficient use of time for busy executives. It is a tiresome task better accomplished with smart, automated software. This is where Red Points’ 5-step system can help:

    • Monitoring and Detecting

    By conducting 24/7 bot-powered searches on TikTok, Red Points finds scammers who might be infringing your intellectual property with fake TikTok accounts and content. Then through image recognition, machine learning and keyword searches based on your previously submitted intellectual property registrations (like trademark, copyright, patent, etc), Red Points’ software is able to isolate, discard or validate fake TikTok accounts. 

    • Validation and prioritization

    TikTok scams are rife and it’s impossible for one person to manually check thousands of TikTok accounts in a cost-effective manner. 

    Red Points’ automated tools enable you to set prioritization rules to validate high risk infringements first, tackling the most damaging fake TikTok accounts and the most annoying TikTok scammers. 

    • Enforcing

    Enforcement is the next step. As soon as these fake accounts appear, you can let Red Points’ automated system do the work for you. 

    Red Points’ Social Media Protection Software allows you to assess those infringements and request a takedown with one click. The system is also able to review suspicious accounts and request automatic takedowns based on pre-established rules you have set up.

    • Economic impact

    Following enforcement, Red Points allows users to understand and assess the overall economic impact of reporting fake TikTok accounts. Here you will be able to see the amount of revenue you have recovered, receive specific information such as amount of incidents per asset and understand the ultimate potential economic value of pursuing TikTok scammers. 

    • Custom reports

    Finally, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from a treasure trove of valuable data. We will create custom reports to provide you with relevant data related to the scammers and the incidents, including information such as success rate by infringement type or average days from notification to takedown. 

    What’s next

    With the vast popularity of TikTok and the increasing rate of cybercrimes, protecting your online business identity has become more important than ever. If you use TikTok to market your products and grow your brand it is vital to know how to spot a fake TikTok account, how to report a TikTok account and how to recover revenue lost to scammers. 

    At Red Points, we offer comprehensive Brand Protection Software to ensure that you can find, track and report TikTok accounts that are misusing your IP. If you want to make the most of your social media presence with an automated solution, talk to an expert now to see how it works for you. 

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