The 6 Top Kik Scams of 2019 (and How to Avoid Them)

How to avoid being manipulated

A woman looking at her smartphone smiling, on a blue background

m-imagephotography, Getty Images

Kik is one of the most popular messaging apps out there. It's a great place to connect with friends through text, emojis, GIFs, and videos. However, it's also a popular place for scammers to attempt to get your attention through a series of different elaborate methods from catfishing to blackmailing. 

Here's a look at the top Kik scams currently out there, including how easy it is to spot if you're being catfished.

01
of 06

Kik Bot Scam

A woman frowning at her smartphone with her hands in her hair

JGI/Jamie Grill, Getty Images 

Often leading to a form of Kik blackmail scam, Kik is rife with bots that attempt to mimic real users, fooling you into believing they're genuine. These bots are automated and follow a specific script but they can be quite sophisticated making it tricky to detect what's real and what's fake.

The bot starts out talking to you then typically encourages you to go to a dubious website which is either full of malware or tries to entice you into revealing financial information about yourself such as by offering a naked photo in exchange. 

The key to avoiding such threats is to be aware of who you're talking to and look out for unusual ways of phrasing things. Stranger danger is an important part of negotiating any social messaging app. Listen to your gut. 

02
of 06

Kik Catfish Scam

Manicured hands wrapped around a smartphone

milicad, Getty Images 

Similar to the Kik bot scam, catfishing is commonplace on Kik when it comes to real people trying to manipulate information out of you. How do I know I'm being catfished, you ask? It's tricky.

Typically, these people tend to talk to you, asking lots of questions, while revealing very little about themselves. It's a shrewd form of psychological manipulation in which they gradually coerce you into either providing them with private information or browsing websites that are suspicious. 

When talking to someone you don't know, be aware of any manipulation that could be unfolding. Don't play along with it if something doesn't feel right. 

03
of 06

Kik Blackmail Scam

A couple lying in bed together. One is asleep while the other is looking at their smartphone shocked

101dalmatians, Getty Images

Tied into the idea of a random person messaging you to get information out of you or persuade you to visit suspicious websites, they can also blackmail you via Kik. This is usually done by gaining your trust before talking to you about sexual matters. As time progresses, they encourage the user to share explicit pictures.

Once this is done, the blackmailer then threatens to send the pictures to friends or family members of the user who has been manipulated. A demand for money is then made in order to save the victim's reputation. 

Be aware of who you're talking to and don't share anything with a stranger that you're not willing to have the people close to you see.

04
of 06

Kik Freebie Scam

A hand tapping at a smartphone with their other hand holding a credit card

 ArisSu, Getty Images

Similar to various texting scams, the Kik Freebie Scam involves you receiving a message that states something like:

"Kik has recently reached the incredible milestone of 100 million users! As a token of our appreciation, we are giving lucky users FREE gifts, and you have been selected! Visit XYZ website to see what you have won! Prices are awarded on a first come, first serve basis, so claim yours today!" 

The link can change depending on the scam but the principle remains the same. Once you click the link, you're taken to a website where you're asked to enter your username and sometimes other important details. Some scams simply lead to you downloading a free app and nothing more, gaining the scammer a referral fee. Other links lead to malware or ways in which you may be tempted to enter financial details. 

Whatever the link, simply ignore it and delete the message. It's at best a waste of your time; at worst, it's dangerous. 

05
of 06

Kik FaceTime Scam

A hand holding onto a smartphone while participating in a video chat

Ridofranz, Getty Images 

Similar to the Kik nude photo scam, the Kik FaceTime scam is where the blackmailer encourages you to record yourself doing personal things via FaceTime for them to watch. Once you've done so, the blackmailer then says they've recorded the footage and will send it to your friends and family. In a bid to avoid humiliation, you need to pay up a certain amount of money so they will 'delete' the video.

Oftentimes, the video doesn't even exist but it's important to never back down to such threats. Also, don't allow yourself to be in a compromising position around someone you don't fully know and trust. It's not worth the risk.

06
of 06

Kik Dating Scams

A woman holding a smartphone while in the street, looking unimpressed

SIphotography, Getty Images

 

Kik dating scams work a lot like other scams listed here, but they tend to last a lot longer. Rather than a 'quick hit' of a bot trying to gain information from you, a dating scam tends to be a slow burner. Usually, it occurs when a random person starts messaging you and builds up a friendship. Over a long period of time this friendship then becomes more intimate and personal. Much like a relationship offline but without the real life connection. 

Once the relationship has been fully established and the trust has been placed, the scammer strikes. Typically, they start to ask for money to help them out of trouble, relying on the user's good nature to help their 'friend' or 'partner' out. The amounts of money tend to increase as time goes by along with more manipulative words from the scammer if the victim refuses at any point. 

The scammer relies on the victim to be too embarrassed or humiliated to discuss it with others so they often get away with such crimes, even though it's one of the most emotionally destructive forms of scamming. 

Don't be ashamed. It can happen to anyone. Just make sure to report it if it happens to you. 

What Should I Do if I'm Already a Victim of a Kik Scam? 

Realized you're a victim to one of these Kik frauds? It's hard to know what to do next. But on thing you can do is learn how to avoid being a victim in future.