Top 8 Snapchat Scams & How to Avoid Them
With hundreds of millions of users worldwide, Snapchat is one of the hottest social media sites out there. Young people, in particular, flock to this service, as it allows them to easily share unique content, such as pictures and videos, and exchange messages. Snapchat is also a popular messaging app, perfect if you want your words to disappear once viewed.
Unfortunately, Snapchat users quickly became easy prey for scammers and hackers, who use various techniques, such as phishing and financial fraud. With cybercrime at an all-time high, it’s only a matter of time before more young adults become victims of such con artists.
The best way to protect yourself against Snapchat scammers is to know their tactics. Today we’ve gathered eight of the most common Snapchat scams you might encounter. Learn the warning signs so you can steer clear of threats while safely enjoying the app.
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Snapchat scams—why you should care
Snapchat scams can put your personal information, your online safety, and your privacy at risk. Scammers can use your personal data to commit identity theft, fraud, or phishing attacks and, in some cases, they may even take over your Snapchat account or use it to spread malicious content.
An awareness of the types of scams that are popular on Snapchat and the steps you can take to protect your account can help you avoid falling victim to these types of threats.
Top 8 Snapchat Scams & How to Avoid Them
1. Snapchat phishing scam
Phishing scams are particularly dangerous as they can provide the scammer with sensitive information, such as your account login information. Typically, a hacker will send an email that looks like it came from Snapchat, saying that your account was compromised as a result of a data breach or that you need to recover it through the provided link.
The provided link will then redirect you to a fake website with a “usual” Snapchat login screen. With login credentials being typed into the fake webpage, the scammer gains access to a user’s Snapchat account.
2. Snapchat “sugar momma” scam
Young adults, teenagers specifically, are being targeted by so-called sugar daddies and sugar mommas. These individuals ask the “sugar baby” to share pictures for which they will send money or provide gift card information.
The way the scam works is that the sugar momma or daddy first asks the sugar baby for account information or a payment to cover the transfer fee. In the second scenario, the scammer disappears as soon as they receive money, while in the first, they clean out the victim’s bank account.
This suspicious behavior raises several red flags, but victims are often blinded by a vision of making easy money and go ahead with the exchange.
3. Tinder Snapchat bot
Starting on dating sites such as Tinder, this next scam begins with a love interest asking to switch message platforms to Snapchat to make talking easier. From there, these romance scams can go in a few different directions.
One frequently seen version is the military romance scam. A soldier stationed abroad will manipulate their victim into sending money. Sometimes, the scammer will do it in such a way as to gain access to bank accounts.
In other versions, the fake love interest will ask for explicit photos or videos. Next, they will threaten to release them if you don’t provide more or if you don’t pay them off.
4. Snapchat catfish scams
A catfish scam involves a fraudster impersonating someone attractive who then establishes a relationship with you. Unsuspecting victims believe they’ve developed a connection, making them more susceptible to the con.
The scammer will then use this romantic bond to ask you for money and, in some cases, your login information, to “make sure” you are not flirting with someone else.
5. Snapchat meetup scams
Similar to the catfish scams, con artists that carry out meetup scams find their potential victims based on location information. They may pretend to be someone who’s particularly attractive or even a celebrity.
They say they want to meet with you but are short on funds and need some money for travel. Of course, they don’t show up to the date. However, some will try to manipulate their victims out of even more money by rescheduling the meet-up. Some have ended up with a significant amount of money lost through this scam.
6. Snapchat Premium scams
In this Snapchat scam, the scammer creates a Premium Snapchat Account featuring adult content. Once you start following the account, they inform you that if you want more exclusive photos and videos, you can buy a subscription through a one-time payment.
Needless to say, with premium scams, you don’t receive any additional explicit content; you only end up losing money.
7. A friend’s account got hacked scam
This scam involves hackers posing as one of your friends in need of help to regain access to their Snapchat account. They’ll request your login information to look through your Friends List and retrieve their Snapchat username. Upon obtaining your login details, they take over your account and change the password.
8. Snapchat money scams
If your friend’s account gets hacked, the scammers may reach out to you while impersonating them. They might mention some kind of advertising opportunity or other way in which you can easily make some extra money.
To take part in this advertising gig or other opportunity, you will first need to send money, a deposit of sorts, that will cover the cost of signing up.
How to avoid Snapchat scams
The general rules to follow to avoid Snapchat scams are pretty much the same as in the case of any other social media site. First, ensure you have a strong password. If you have trouble remembering different passwords, opt for a password manager.
Never reveal personal or financial information (such as your credit or debit card info) to anyone through Snapchat. Or any other social media channel, for that matter. And never ever send money! If a friend asks for financial aid, message them through a different channel to confirm.
Do not click on any suspicious links you may receive. This applies to both your email and Snapchat account. By clicking, you may be accessing a fake website and potentially exposing your sensitive info. If you receive an odd-looking link from a friend, ask them about it before clicking.
Finally, check your bank account and credit score every now and then. If someone gained access to your finances or you’ve fallen victim to identity theft, you’ll be able to notice the warning signs.
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What to do if you’re involved in a Snapchat scam?
Signal the issue to Snapchat support. If your account was compromised, send a request to them. Let your friends know through a different channel not to open any links that might come from your account or engage in conversations, as they will be talking to a scammer.
You can also report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and the FTC.
If your login credentials are the same on a different social media channel or any other online account, make sure to change them to new ones. Use a unique password for each of your accounts.
Snapchat scam FAQ
Can you get hacked on Snapchat by adding someone?
It is highly unlikely that simply adding someone on Snapchat would allow them to immediately hack your account. However, accepting messages or links from unknown sources or falling for phishing scams can make your account vulnerable.
Fake Snapchat accounts–how to spot them?
One of the first ways you can recognize a fake Snapchat account is by checking their snap score. Next, take a look at the stories they posted from the beginning, their profile picture, and their followers list. Also, check for a verified icon next to the username, which indicates that Snapchat has confirmed that the account belongs to the person or organization it’s claimed to.
Finally, the biggest red flag are messages that seem suspicious or out of character, especially those regarding money.
Is it illegal to create a fake account on Snapchat?
Although Snapchat doesn’t allow the creation of fake accounts, doing so is not considered an illegal act.
Are Snapchat scams frequent?
Snapchat scams do occur, but it’s difficult to estimate how frequently.
How to stay safe online?
Apart from remaining cautious and avoiding giving out sensitive information, try to decrease the amount of your personal information that is visible online. Set your social media accounts to private, deactivate old, unused accounts, and opt out of data broker and people search sites.
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