Hi, I am a recruitment manager at TikTok. Spend 5 minutes a day watching TikTok and earn up to RM900 commission. Does this sound familiar? If you’re an Apple user, you might have come across a few of these through your iMessages. But what happens if you actually reply to one of these spam texts?
I hope you know these “TikTok representative” texts are hoping to phish you for a response, and are most likely scams hoping to steal some money off you. But still, loads of victims still fall into the trap.
So, if we were to respond to a scam, how badly we would be affected? And how quickly you can fall deep into the hole?
In my investigation video, which you can watch right above this paragraph, I felt safer doing the experiment with a throwaway number and a separate phone. I even recruited my coworker, Sofie, to help photoshop a fake IC and create a whole new identity so that my own personal information isn’t compromised.
But to my surprise, the scammers I contacted didn’t care about my identity. They didn’t care about my name, where I lived, and if I was telling the truth. The only thing they really asked was if I could bank in RM20 for an extremely suspicious “easy money” scheme. If I asked them about anything else, they wouldn’t entertain me and would just keep asking me to give them that investment.
Honestly, I was expecting something more convincing. I was hoping to stumble across a more elaborate scheme, like in Netflix’s Tinder Swindler—where it showed a super elaborate love scam where the victim virtually dated the scammer for a long period of time.
But I suppose the scammers getting to the point might work a little better. They send spam messages to a large number of people, and a tiny percentage of people respond and fall into the scheme. Sadly, that small number of scam victims are still victims, and it’s actually quite a common thing in Malaysia.
We reported last year that a total of RM57.73 million was lost to eCommerce scams alone between January to October 2021. And recently, users have reported to have received an SMS from “GOV” about a special cash aid that’s disbursed through your TNG eWallet.
As for the TikTok job scam iMessages, every Apple user I know has received these messages. It’s an irritating problem because we can’t seem to get away from them, either. It’s all the more concerning considering news of data breaches—from citizens’ data and photos allegedly being sold online, to the Prime Minister’s Telegram account being hacked.
Even when we think we know what to look out for, how are people still falling for scams and hacking attempts? The scam seemed obvious, and you would think no one would fall for it.
But I suppose if you’re desperate enough to make RM6 from your RM20 investment, you’d be willing to fork it out. And as the schemes get smarter and smarter, they will always be more elaborate, and would always be one step in front of us.
There are measures to help you avoid these scams. Remember to do your fact-checking and research from reputable sources. Your personal details like usernames, passwords, and PIN are not meant to be shared with people online, either. Because there’s really nothing you can do to get your money back if you’ve been scammed—besides making a police report.