This pile of money could be a money pit! Cryptocurrency investment scams turn to TikTok

Money scams have long been popular on Instagram and Twitter. But as TikTok’s popularity grows, so do scammers.

Beware of this TikTok scam, which promises to turn a few hundred dollars worth of cryptocurrency into thousands in no time. BBB sees many new reports in BBB Scam Tracker related to this money rollover scam. Here’s what you need to know.

How the scam works

You are scrolling through TikTok when you come across a video showing a pile of money. The creator says he made the stack of money in just a few days by investing in cryptocurrency. You may not know much about cryptocurrency, but this “investor” can help you get the same kind of return for a small fee. Even better, they have a 100% guarantee that they can triple your money in less than a week.

When you contact the supposed investor, probably via WhatsApp, Telegram or another messaging app, they will be polite and professional. They’ll ask you to send money — usually a few hundred dollars to start — through a digital wallet service like PayPal, Zelle, or Venmo. They may even ask you to buy the cryptocurrency yourself and send it to them. Then they “invest” your money in the stock market, where it allegedly starts multiplying immediately.

As always, the scam is not what it seems. When you try to get your money back, the scammer claims you have to pay a fee. At first, these amounts may seem trivial. Since your few hundred dollars have now turned into a few thousand, what’s the harm in spending a few hundred dollars on fees, right?

Scammers try to prolong this scam as long as possible to get as much money as possible. They may charge multiple times, always promising that you will get much more than you spend. If you question them, they may resort to scare tactics, telling you that if you don’t pay you’ll miss the giant return or that they can take legal action. Unfortunately, all the money you send will end up in the scammer’s pockets. You will not get a return on your investment nor will you get your initial deposit back.

How to Avoid Money Flipping Scams

  • Use common sense. Get-rich-quick schemes and investments that guarantee you a huge return are almost always scams. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Do your research. Before contacting someone through TikTok or another social media platform, research their name, phone number, and business name (if they have one) online. If they cheated other people, you’ll probably find complaints online about it.
  • Don’t give in to scare tactics. If an “investor” approaches you, they may try to convince you that the investment will only work if you act now. Or, if you’ve already sent them funds, they may threaten you with legal action if you don’t pay their fees. Either way, don’t give in to scare tactics. Recognize them as hallmarks of a scam.
  • Understand how digital wallet services work. Treat the money you send through a digital wallet service like cash. Once you’ve sent the money, there’s not much you can do to get it back if it turns out you’ve been scammed. It’s best to only use these apps with people you know and trust.

For more information

Learn about other investment scam techniques and money transfer scams. If you spot a scam on TikTok or elsewhere, report it to BBB Scam Tracker, even if you haven’t lost any money. Your report helps raise consumer awareness of the issue.

Check out more crypto tips and financial advice at BBB.org.

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