After the Indian government banned TikTok along with 58 other Chinese apps in the country, a lot of users had nowhere to get their daily short video-based content feed from. While many Indian alternatives to TikTok took this opportunity to rise and shine, scammers have also made the most of the void by creating fake TikTok-like apps. One of the recent examples of this is a hoax called ‘TikTok Pro’. Also Read - Roposo gains 22 million users in 2 days after TikTok ban; Mitron, Chingari also see rise in downloads
As per many reports, scammers are using SMS and phishing attacks to attract users into downloading an app called TikTok Pro. The scammers are using the ban on the app as an opportunity to populate another possibly malicious app that is being sold off as the successor to the original TikTok. The SMS and WhatsApp messages received by people claim that the new fake app is the original TikTok, rebranded for India. Also Read - TikTok chief says China never asks for data of Indian users
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“Enjoy Tiktok Videos and also make Create Videos again. Now TikTok is only Available in (TikTok pro) So Download from below,” goes the message. Text like this extract are often followed by a link to to download the TikTok Pro APK file. Needless to say, visiting the links in any such messages are definitely a bad, risky idea. Also Read - TikTok's Indian alternative 'Chingari' crosses over 10 million downloads on Google Play store in 22 days
However, thanks to some people who actually went ahead and tried the fake application, we know this is definitely a scamming attempt. Users are met with an icon that resembles the original TikTok. Permissions for the phone’s camera and mic are then asked for. The app, however, doesn’t do anything once you grant these permissions. It just stays on the phone, with likely some form of malware at work in the background.
The fake app is not available on the Google Play Store, which is the only place you should be downloading apps from. This is the first red flag against most scamming apps that claim to be newer, modified, or ‘pro’ versions.