TikTok Shop Scams: Everything You Need to Know in 2024

Kate Davidson
Kate Davidson Chief Editor
Updated on: June 6, 2024
Fact Checked by Sam Boyd
Kate Davidson Kate Davidson
Updated on: June 6, 2024 Chief Editor

The TikTok Shop lets you buy products from your favorite content creators. Creators can sell items through in-feed videos, TikTok LIVEs, and the Showcase tab. In most cases, it’s safe to buy from the shop — but you should take some precautions to protect yourself because there are some scammers in the marketplace.

There are a number of ways to get scammed while trying to buy things from TikTok. For one, you might receive a product that doesn’t work. There have also been cases of customers receiving nothing at all while being charged more than they’ve agreed to. Some users have even had their identities stolen after unwittingly giving their info to scammers.

For this reason, it’s very important to follow the safety tips outlined in this article. Following these tips will help ensure that your TikTok shopping experience goes smoothly. One of the first things I recommend is using a product like Norton LifeLock, which protects US users from the risk of identity theft posed by sharing personal information on TikTok (or any other app or website).


Is It Safe to Buy From the TikTok Shop?

Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. On the whole, TikTok is less secure than many other established sites like Amazon and eBay. But that doesn’t mean everything is a scam.

Making purchases on the TikTok shop is simple — all you need is a TikTok account. Opening up a store is only slightly more difficult. All sellers need to do is provide an ID issued by the government of the country they’re selling from. You can start selling the same day you create an account, so it’s easy for scammers to get through. TikTok does have policies that require sellers to provide authentic products and accurate descriptions, but these aren’t rigorously enforced.

This means that buyers should be cautious. Scammers are known to use the IDs of phishing attack victims to get around the requirement and hide their real identities. So I recommend you always check seller reviews and ratings, use secure payment methods provided by TikTok, and avoid deals that seem too good to be true. And if a seller is trying to get you to pay for something on a different platform, they probably have bad intentions.

Some sellers have blue checkmarks showing they are verified. This generally means they’re safe, but it’s still essential to use common sense and due diligence to avoid potential scams. When you visit a store page, check to see how many products it’s sold and look for any reviews. If the store hasn’t made many sales, the chance that it’s a scam is much higher. Remember, reviews can be faked and just because TikTok has policies against deceptive descriptions, these aren’t enforced across the board. By adhering to these precautions, you can enjoy a safer shopping experience on TikTok Shop.

How to Identify & Avoid TikTok Shop Scams

Given TikTok’s rapid rise in popularity, it’s a prime target for scammers. Unlike established e-commerce platforms like Amazon or eBay, TikTok’s shopping environment requires extra vigilance. Follow the tips below to shop safely.

Research the Seller

First, start by researching the seller. Look for verified sellers with a blue checkmark next to their name, which signifies that TikTok has recognized them as legitimate businesses.

The TikTok shop includes both creators and sellers who don’t make videos. Creators can add Showcases to their pages that highlight products sold by their affiliates. If you are thinking of buying something recommended by a creator, be sure to look into the actual seller too.

That said, most items on the TikTok shop are sold by individual salespeople and brands rather than stars on the platform. This means you can’t rely on any content to judge whether they’re legit entrepreneurs or scammers. All you can do is read the info on their store page and do your own research.

I recommend reading through the entire store page before making a purchase. Check for detailed information about the seller such as contact details, physical address, and return policy. All of these can help you make an educated guess about a seller’s legitimacy. You can also search outside of TikTok, but if it’s a small seller, you aren’t likely to discover much.

How to Identify & Avoid TikTok Shop Scams

I also recommend looking out for other red flags like text that seems to have been AI-generated, poor grammar and spelling, and text that’s been stuffed with keywords. Though not necessarily an indication of fraudulent behavior, you should be very wary of these things.

By doing your due diligence, you’ll minimize the risk of falling prey to scammers and ensure a safer shopping experience on TikTok Shop.

Research the Product

Before you make a purchase, thoroughly research the product you’re interested in. Look for detailed product descriptions, high-quality images, and customer reviews. If it’s a mainstream product, consider looking for info outside of TikTok. Compare the product with similar items on other reputable e-commerce platforms to gauge if the price and quality seem reasonable.

Authentic sellers usually provide comprehensive information and have a history of satisfied customers, which can help you make an informed decision. Scammers are more likely to describe the products in vague or exaggerated terms.

I also recommend contacting the seller with basic questions to see how they respond. If the seller answers in an evasive fashion and just pushes for the sale, this could be a bad sign. It’s also wise to see if their answers are vague or if they’re willing to provide clear and helpful answers.

Furthermore, checking for video reviews or unboxing videos can give you a better understanding of the product’s authenticity and quality. I recommend reading the comments under review videos, as these can sometimes provide a more objective take.

A popular scam in 2024 involves selling seeds with images of otherworldly flowers. These are fairly cheap, so you won’t be out much money, but don’t expect blue sunflowers or coleuses, as such things do not exist. This scam works so well because by the time a seed flowers the window for getting a refund will have long since passed. If you do see flowers you like, be sure to do research to make sure the seller is offering something that actually exists.

How to Identify & Avoid TikTok Shop Scams

Also, look for any indications of a warranty or a guarantee. Legitimate products often come with some form of buyer protection. By thoroughly vetting the product, you can avoid disappointments and ensure that what you see is what you get.

Avoid Impulse Purchases

Impulse purchases can sometimes lead to regret, especially on TikTok Shop where ads are designed to be enticing. It’s a good idea to take a moment to evaluate each potential purchase. Consider whether you genuinely need the item or if you’re simply caught up in the excitement.

Scammers often create a sense of urgency to get you to make a quick decision. By pausing and reflecting before making a purchase, you can avoid falling for scams. You might see something you want to buy right away — but it’s still wise to take some time to research the product and seller first.

This approach will help you make thoughtful decisions and reduce the risk of falling for scams. Additionally, setting a budget for online shopping can help manage impulse buying. By sticking to a predetermined spending limit, you can enjoy shopping without the worry of overspending or falling for scam tactics.

Avoid Deals That Seem Too Good to Be True

Products with prices far below the market average are generally scams. Scammers will try to lure you with unbelievably low prices or promises of high-value items for a fraction of the cost. These tactics exploit your desire for a bargain, potentially leading you to overlook red flags.

Always approach such offers with skepticism. Verify the seller’s credibility and check for product reviews. Legitimate deals should still fall within reasonable market prices, so trust your instincts and avoid offers that appear excessively generous.

How to Identify & Avoid TikTok Shop Scams

Though not outright scams, misleading store pages are a big problem on TikTok Shop. In my research, I saw a lot of products that at first looked like unbelievable deals but, upon further inspection, turned out to be misleading. For example, I searched ‘cheap smartphone’ and landed on a page with pictures of a Motorola phone. The title gave a phone model and the price was super low. It was only clarified at the very bottom of the page that the seller was offering glass shields rather than smartphones.

In most cases, you can probably get a refund if you’re misled into making such a purchase, but there’s no guarantee. The seller could fight you on the refund process or demand that you pay to ship the item back. So in addition to looking at the seller’s stats, be sure to read the entire product description.

How to Identify & Avoid TikTok Shop Scams

If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is — so taking the time to verify the offer can save you from potential scams. Remember, reputable sellers will not drastically underprice their products, as they have to cover their costs and turn a profit. Doing a quick price comparison across multiple platforms can also help you determine if a deal is realistic (or not!).

Use Secure Payment Methods

Always use secure payment methods when purchasing on TikTok Shop. Credit cards and platforms like PayPal offer buyer protection, which can help you recover funds if something goes wrong. Avoid using debit cards, and if a seller requests payment outside of the TikTok Shop, that’s a huge red flag.

Secure payment methods not only protect your financial information but also provide an additional layer of security against fraudulent transactions. I’ve actually encountered this myself using a less-than-savory online shopping platform. Thankfully, I had used my credit card, so my credit card issuer promptly refunded me the money and opened an investigation into the seller. Lesson learned!

This experience really highlights the importance of using secure payment methods to protect yourself. Additionally, enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) on your payment accounts can add an extra layer of security. With 2FA enabled, if someone gains access to your login details, they won’t be able to complete the transaction without the second authentication factor.

The safest way to use the TikTop Shop is to pay with a virtual credit card. 1Password offers Privacy Cards that let you make purchases online without divulging your real credit card information. This means you can’t be charged more than once and you’re far less susceptible to identity theft.

Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

Understanding your rights and responsibilities as a buyer is crucial. Familiarize yourself with TikTok Shop’s policies regarding returns, refunds, and dispute resolution. You get 30 days from the time your order is marked as “delivered” to initiate a return and refund request. TikTok can also help resolve any disputes between buyers and sellers, if necessary (though this must be requested). Knowing these policies can empower you to take appropriate action if you encounter a scam or receive a substandard product.

Unfortunately, TikTok makes it unnecessarily difficult to report scammers. There’s no way to report sellers from their store pages. You have to manually fill out a form on TikTok’s website. I couldn’t find any links to this page from within the app, which was quite frustrating.

It’s also beneficial to understand the legal protections available in your country or region, as consumer protection laws can offer additional recourse in case of fraud or scams. Keeping records of your transactions (like receipts and communication with sellers) can also be helpful if you need to escalate a dispute.

Learn to Recognize Fake Accounts

Scammers often create fake accounts to impersonate celebrities, influencers, or brands. Look out for scammers pretending to be popular brands like Microsoft, Apple, Lululemon, and others. These accounts can appear very convincing, using stolen content and professional-looking profiles. Make sure that the brands on a page are spelled correctly and always check for verification badges. Be cautious of accounts that ask you to click on external links or provide personal information.

If an account seems suspicious, search online for any warnings or reports about it. Avoid interacting with or following these accounts to protect your personal information and avoid falling into scam traps.

I also recommend being extra cautious of accounts that have inconsistent follower-to-engagement ratios, which can indicate fake followers. Keep in mind though that not every TikTok store operator is a creator active on the platform, so this doesn’t apply in all cases.

How Does TikTok Protect Your Purchases?

Though TikTok does seem to protect buyers quite well, I always recommend being highly cautious when shopping on the platform. As always, it’s better to do your due diligence before making a purchase rather than relying on support after you’ve been scammed.

That said, here are some ways in which TikTok claims to protect buyers:

Protection Against Counterfeit Products

TikTok has rules against selling counterfeit products on its platforms. Sellers are required to list only authentic items, and TikTok actively monitors listings for potential infringements. That said, as a platform that anyone can join, fakers do get through. If you suspect that a product is counterfeit, you can report it, and TikTok will investigate the claim. This helps ensure that the products you purchase are genuine and meet quality standards.

Returns and Refunds

TikTok provides clear guidelines for returns and refunds. If you receive a faulty or incorrect product, you can request a return or refund within a specified period.

While the standard return or refund window is 30 days, TikTok Shop Buyer Protection extends this period to 90 days. This program ensures the protection of your purchases on TikTok Shop. If you encounter any issues with your order, you have up to 90 days from the delivery date to escalate the matter to TikTok Customer Service. There are some conditions and exceptions though, so you should tap the relevant link on your Order profile to find out how you’re covered.

As for how refunds are processed, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Some users report having their money returned in days while others have to wait several months. Potentially long waits for refunds highlight the need to exercise caution before tapping that Buy Now button.

Handling After-Sale Disputes

After-sale disputes are handled through TikTok’s dispute resolution process. If you have any issues with your purchase (like not receiving the item or receiving a damaged product), you can file a dispute. TikTok acts as a mediator between the buyer and the seller to resolve the issue.

Banning Links to External Sites

To further protect you, TikTok bans links to external sites in seller listings. This policy prevents sellers from redirecting you to potentially unsafe or fraudulent websites. By keeping transactions within the TikTok platform, you’re better safeguarded by the platform’s security measures and policies.

What to Do if You’ve Fallen For a TikTok Shop Scam

If you’ve fallen for a TikTok Shop scam, take immediate action to mitigate potential damage. Here’s what you should do:

  • Report the scam. Report the fraudulent seller to TikTok to help prevent others from falling victim. TikTok has mechanisms in place for handling such reports.
  • Request a refund. Initiate the refund process through the TikTok app. If the seller is not cooperating or asking you to cancel the refund so they can get your money back another way, ignore them. Fill out the required forms and explain how you believe you were scammed.
  • Change your passwords. Change your TikTok account password and any other accounts that share the same password. This helps protect your personal information and prevent further unauthorized access. I recommend using a top password manager like 1Password to create and store strong and unique passwords.
  • Contact your bank. If you provided financial information, contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately. They can help you dispute charges, block your card, and issue a new one if necessary.
  • Monitor your accounts. Keep an eye on your bank statements and credit reports for any unauthorized transactions or signs of identity theft.
  • Use identity theft protection. Consider using a service like Norton LifeLock, which offers US users identity theft protection, data breach monitoring, and dark web surveillance to alert you if your personal information is compromised. If it has been, Norton’s identity restoration specialists will also help you resolve the issue.
  • Enable security features. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts to add an extra layer of security. This can prevent unauthorized access even if your password is compromised.
  • Educate yourself. Learn from the experience to avoid future scams. Stay informed about common scamming tactics and how to recognize them.

By taking these steps promptly, you can protect yourself from further harm. Stay vigilant and proactive in safeguarding your personal and financial information.

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How to Report a TikTok Shop

TikTok doesn’t make it that easy to report TikTok Shop pages run by scammers. There’s no way to do so from within the app. Instead, you’ll need to visit the website’s Feedback page and fill out a form. Select TikTok For Business / TikTok Shopping as the topic and then fill out the rest of the form to the best of your knowledge.

If you come across a content creator who seems to be promoting fraudulent TikTok Shop pages, consider reporting them so TikTok can launch an investigation. Here’s how:

How to Report a TikTok Shop

  1. On the account’s profile, tap the Share arrow.
  2. Tap Report.
  3. Tap Report account or Report content. In this case, we’ll choose Report account.
  4. Tap Frauds and scams.
  5. Tap Submit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is TikTok Shop safe to buy from?

TikTok Shop can be safe to buy from, but it requires caution. Verified sellers, user reviews, and secure payment methods contribute to its safety. However, the platform’s relative novelty means it’s more susceptible to scams than established e-commerce sites.

Always research sellers, read product reviews, and use secure payment methods. Avoid deals that seem too good to be true and be wary of new accounts with little engagement. By following these precautions, you can enhance your safety while shopping on TikTok Shop. Here’s how to identify and avoid TikTok scams.

Does TikTok Shop have buyer protection?

Yes, TikTok Shop offers buyer protection through several measures. The platform enforces policies against counterfeit products, provides clear guidelines for returns and refunds, and has a dispute resolution process for after-sale issues.

If you receive a faulty or incorrect product, you can report it within a specified period and request a refund or return. TikTok also bans external links in listings to prevent redirecting buyers to potentially unsafe websites. These protections help ensure a safer shopping experience on TikTok Shop.

Where is the TikTok Shop available?

TikTok Shop is currently only available in the US, the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. However, this could change in the future.

The listings featured on this site are from companies from which this site receives compensation and some are co-owned by our parent company. This influence: Rank and manner in which listings are presented. 
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About the Author
Kate Davidson
Kate Davidson
Chief Editor
Updated on: June 6, 2024

About the Author

Kate Davidson is a Chief Editor at SafetyDetectives. She has many years of experience as a journalist and communications professional, and has worked for media organizations, government agencies, and NGOs in multiple countries. Kate has always had a deep interest in cybersecurity, which has — together with her passion for crafting quality content — allowed her to bring complex topics about antiviruses, password managers, VPNs, and overall online security closer to our readers. In her spare time, Kate enjoys spending time with her family, cooking Italian food, and doing yoga by the sea.

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