What are Snapchat scams?
Scammers generally hack into users’ accounts and impersonate them. They carry out this activity in varied ways. Data breach is one of the most common ways, where the user’s information like usernames and passwords are revealed. The fraudster targets the user’s friends list once they gain access to the account.
Social media platforms like Snapchat have undergone a massive rise in fraudulent practices. Simultaneously, multiple users have warned authorities of suspicious activities on their accounts. It’s the same circumstance as we refer to various Snapchat scams targets whose accounts were compromised, making them lose a lot of money. Since users don’t easily recognize the account’s state, scammers often contact users through hacked accounts and portray false images.
How to Tell A Real Snapchat Account From a Fake One
A few things that can help you split a real from a fake account are mentioned here:
- Check their Snap score- This will reveal if they’re active on the platform. If they declare to be an influencer but only have a few hundred Snap points, it’s probably a scam.
- Look at the Snap map- Does their real-life location compare to what they claim in their snap or profile?
- Look up their profile/story photos in Google image search- Scammers embezzle images from other sites and use them for fake accounts. To find out where a picture came from, upload it to Google Image Search.
- Check if they have a Bitmoji- A Bitmoji is a cartoon avatar by a person’s name. It could be a red flag if a profile isn’t using one, as these are common among Snapchat users.
- Think about what they’re asking you- You should probably block them if a random profile adds you and starts asking for “help” or forwarding you odd links. This also goes for your friends. If your acquaintance starts forwarding you strange messages, communicate with them on a different platform and ask if everything is OK.
Fake accounts often promote attractive models and people displaying cash, expensive goods, and sports cars. However, remember the golden rule of fraud prevention: “If it appears too good to be true, it probably is.”
The Most Common Snapchat Scams
The aim of a Snapchat scam is almost always to gain control of your account, like many emerging cyber threats.
They can shut you out and press for cash, Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, gift cards (known as carding), and more once they get access. So how do scammers gain access to your account?
The friend who requires aid with their account scam
These scammers proclaim to be a friend who is shut out of its account. They will request your login information to find their login information. Once they have credentials to your account, they will change the password and order payment for you to regain access.
The fake opportunity to make money scam
These scammers typically use your friend’s compromised account to contact you. Then they’ll try to sell an ad gig, promote brands, or use some other type of profitable opportunity. Scammers will ask for money and your login information to begin, suggesting that they want to “spread the word about this opportunity among your other friends.” Once provided, they will close your account, steal your funds, and cut any form of contact with you.
The friend in need of money or a check cashing scam
Hackers can also use your friends’ accounts to request money. They’ll cook up a story that pulls on your heartstrings like their dog got hit by a car and needs surgery. So you, being a good friend, give the money. Then the scammer flees.
Alternately, hackers faking to be your friend may sometimes ask you to pull off bank fraud by cashing a check for them. Instead, they’ll send you a photo of a statement to mobile deposit into your account. You’ll then transfer the money from the check-in cash, Bitcoin, or gift cards.
However, because the check is false or misleading, it bounces and never clears in your bank statement. As a result, you’ll run out of all the money you forwarded this friend and have to settle the bounced check fee at your bank ($35 to $45).
Phishing scams leading to account takeovers
This is a phishing scam where scammers send emails telling you to unlock your account through a link they provide. Once you tap on that link, it will look a lot like Snapchat’s login feature. However, it is a phony site where they can record any details you enter and use it to steal your account and other personal data.
Snapchat romance scams
These hoaxes usually begin on dating and matchmaking platforms. For example, scammers may ask you to talk on Snapchat to keep their accounts active and unblocked. These deceptive romantics use images and videos of charming individuals as cover and fool you into thinking you’re conversing with the one you see in the images. These scammers work on making you realize that you both have an intense connection and eventually start requesting money.
Here are some of the common Snapchat romance scams:
- Meeting on dating sites (such as Tinder) and asking to talk on Snapchat- If you match with a scammer on a dating platform, they’ll frequently ask to move the conversation to Snapchat (this is especially frequent in military romance scams). They’ll ask for specific photos/videos and then blackmail you into releasing your intimate photos/videos if you don’t share more.
- Snapchat catfish scams- A catfish is someone who poses to be a stunning person online. These scammers deceive victims into thinking they have a genuine romantic connection and then ask for money, gift cards, photos, etc. They may also demand access to your account to “prove” you’re not toying with other people.
- Snapchat meetup scams- Users who don’t obstruct their location are liable to Snapchat meetup scams. Here, attractive Snapchat accounts connect to users and say they want to meet in their area. They’ll demand you to pay for their gas or bus ticket. But the scammer stands you up for the date. They may give you an excuse and schedule a new date, dragging along the victim for even more money before they disappear.
“Sugar Daddy/Momma” scams
An older person reaching out to a younger user (known as a sugar baby) is a sugar daddy/momma. The daddy/momma demands the baby to send pictures or videos in return for money, gift cards, or presents.
There are three ways this Snapchat scam usually plays out:
- They ask for upfront payment first
The scammer will tell the target they need money transfer fees or “cover” the gift shipping cost. Sometimes they’ll request this payment as “proof of loyalty.” Once the sugar baby has paid, the sugar daddy/momma vanishes.
- They demand your bank account information.
They’ll say they’d like to deposit money into their account. But in reality, the scammer empties the account.
- They send you money and request you to send some back.
They’ll provide the sugar baby $1,000, for instance, using a fraudulent check or gift cards bought with stolen credit cards.
Then they’ll demand the sugar baby for $100 back in gift cards as souvenirs or to buy their next gift. The sugar baby gives the gift cards, then learns that the daddy/momma’s check bounced or the gift cards don’t work.
Snapchat Girls and Premium Account scams
Scammers will set up a Premium Snapchat Account featuring Snapchat Girls even though it is not an official feature.
These accounts guarantee to share exclusive adult content with subscribers who pay a one-time fee via Cash App or Venmo or register for an account on a distinct website with their credit card, debit card, or bank details. But any money or information you share goes straight to the scammer.
How To Shut Down Snapchat Scammers
Scammers are becoming more innovative, which means you could be involved in a Snapchat scam that is similar but not identical to the ones we just mentioned.
If you suspect you are being scammed, look for signs of identity theft, such as accounts requesting:
- Your login information
- Money, gift cards, altcoins, etc.
- Your photos and videos
- Other personal information (your location, pet’s name, birthday, etc.)
- Your friends’ PII
Follow these steps once you believe you’re being scammed:
Block suspicious accounts using the in-app reporting feature.
Users can reveal content, inappropriate behaviors (such as harassment), and scams to Snapchat’s Trust and Safety teams via In-App Reporting. Click the “Report” button on a Snap, Story, or account to file a report.
Snapchat claims its team takes action in under two hours to reduce potential harm once a report is received. For more information, check out the Quick Guide to Snapchat Reporting. You can also block Snapchat users, preventing them from contacting you or viewing your content.
Report your compromised or hacked account
When your Snapchat account has been accessed by someone who is not allowed to use it, it has been compromised or hacked.
Indications that your Snapchat account may be hacked or compromised include the following:
- Being locked out of your account
- Spam sent from your account
- An alert indicates that someone accessed your account from a IP address, different location, or device.
- New contacts are being added to your list without your knowledge.
- Someone swapped the mobile number or email address linked with your account.
You can report the hacked account to Snapchat. A Snapchat rep will need to confirm your identity, but they will never ask for your password or My Eyes Only passcode.
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