TikTok Shop and social media e-commerce a ‘gold mine for fraudsters’

Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

In the midst of TikTok finally launching its e-commerce service, TikTok Shop, it has been warned that social media shopping products may become a ‘gold mine’ for fraudsters to flourish. 

Guy Bauman, Co-Founder & CMO of security and privacy app Ironvest, explained that whilst e-commerce integrations on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram provide a seamless experience for shopping, they may possess a gateway for fraud attacks to infiltrate. 

He said: “While offerings like TikTok Shop and Instagram Shopping offer feed-scrolling shoppers an extremely slick and convenient way to buy products, the overall platforms can be rife with fraudsters. 

“In fact, shopping on social media platforms has become a gold mine for scammers seeking to con unwitting consumers.”

“Tactics for these phoney digital storefronts include sending products that are nowhere near what has been advertised for sale or, even, ghosting a buyer completely. Some of these fake retailers may even reach out directly and ask for payment details to be confirmed in order to compromise and steal people’s card details.”

With more than 200,000 sellers already tapping into TikTok Shop, with the social media app also boasting more than 150 million users, there is a large-scale risk for fake sellers or products with many retailers unable to provide sufficient personal data and protect card details. 

TikTok Shop also provides a dedicated tab, which tailors to the user for their specific needs, which could also have potential to attract them to products which could land them on counterfeit products. 

A Bloomberg report recently revealed that whilst the ‘Shop’ button has been showcased for many US users, it featured a majority of cheap or counterfeit products based out of China. TikTok reassured users that more than 90% of its sellers were from the US. 

Bauman believes that TikTok should look to enhance its security measures to eradicate any potential of fraud attacks to better protect its users. 

He explained: “Relying solely on a password manager to protect your entire digital identity really does create a false sense of security and you might be bamboozled by all the various other options available. 

“One really simple way to protect yourself is to use an all-in-one app that specifically offers active identity masking.

“This means when making a purchase you are able to create ‘masked’ profiles that generate a random email address or phone number while your real details are kept completely private and also a masked card protects your payments. With masking, if a retailer is hacked, your genuine information is safe and secure. 

“To ensure complete protection, also rely on a strong biometric password manager and a two-factor authentication protector to safeguard access to your accounts.”

The launch of TikTok shop will also see the possibility of the social media app collecting more of its users financial data, addresses and shopping patterns, which could be susceptible to hackers. 

TikTok joins the likes of Instagram and WeChat in its bid to diversify its capabilities and move towards the mould of a super app.