Money-flipping cons have long been popular on Instagram and Twitter. But as TikTok’s popularity grows, so do the con artists.

Watch out for this TikTok scam, which promises to turn a few hundred dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency into thousands in no time at all. BBB is seeing many new reports in BBB Scam Tracker related to this money-flipping 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 cash. The creator says they earned 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 modest fee. Better yet, they have a 100% guarantee that they can triple your money in less than a week.

When you contact the supposed investor, likely through WhatsApp, Telegram, or another messaging app, they will be polite and professional. They will 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 purchase the cryptocurrency yourself and send it to them. Then, they “invest” your money in the stock market, where it allegedly starts multiplying right away.

As always, the scam isn’t what it seems. When you try to get your money back, the scammer will claim you need to pay fees. At first, these amounts may seem harmless. Since your few hundred dollars now turned into a few thousand, what’s the harm in spending a couple hundred in fees, right?

Scammers try to extend this con for as long as possible to get as much money as they can. They may ask for fees several times, always promising you will get much more back than what you are spending. If you question them, they may resort to scare tactics, telling you that if you don’t pay, you’ll miss out on the giant return or that they can take legal action. Unfortunately, any money you send will end up in the scammer’s pockets. You won’t be getting a return on your investment, and you won’t be getting your initial deposit back either. 

How to avoid money flipping scams 

  • Use good judgment. Get-rich-quick schemes and investments that are guaranteed to give you a huge return are nearly always scams. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Do your research. Before you contact someone through TikTok or another social media platform, look up their name, phone number, and company name (if they have one) online. If they have conned others, you’ll likely find complaints online about it.
  • Don’t give into scare tactics. If an “investor” contacts you, they may try to convince you the investment will only work if you act right now. Or, if you’ve already sent them funds, they may threaten you with legal action if you don’t pay their fees. In any case, don’t give in to scare tactics. Recognize them as the hallmarks of a scam.
  • Understand how digital wallet services work. Treat any money you send through a digital wallet service like cash. Once you send the money, there will be little you can do to get it back if it turns out you were scammed. It’s best to use these apps only with people you know and trust.

For more information

Read up on more investment scam techniques and money-flipping scams. If you spot a scam on TikTok or elsewhere, report it to BBB Scam Tracker, even if you didn’t lose any money. Your report helps boost consumer awareness about the issue.

Check out more crypto tips and money advice on BBB.org.