A popular short-form mobile video app shared tips on how Filipinos can avoid being victimized by cybercriminals posing as potential love interests online through its “#BeCyberSmart” tips.
TikTok launched the initiative to make its community a safe space as people turn to the internet to find companionship, especially when feelings of isolation are heightened amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a report of cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, at least 45% of online users in Southeast Asia fall victim to love scams.
Romance scams are also on the rise since 2020.
READ: Nearly 1 in 2 in Southeast Asia lose money to love scams online —report
TikTok is also among the online platforms where some unexpectedly find love.
There are more than 225 billion videos about “#love” on its app.
The mobile video app said that it is “committed” to educating its users about the dangers of online dating. Here are some of its advice:
Take it slow
The app encouraged the public to ask questions and pay attention to inconsistencies in his/her answers that might signal the person they are interested in is not who they think they are.
Research is the key
One can also conduct a reverse image search of the partner’s profile photo and see if it appears in another site or with a different name. If such is the case, there’s a possibility the person might be a scammer.
The app said that this can be done by running the photo through Google Images.
Don’t play games
The app warned the public to never give away too much information to someone they’ve just online. It also cautioned them to be wary of someone who makes repeated attempts to meet up in person.
Never show them the money
To avoid being scammed, TikTok said that people should never send cash or agree to send money to someone they’ve only met online or through the phone.
Listen to your heart and follow your head
If something seems amiss or if one suspects that their potential love interest is not who they say they are, people are advised to cut off all contacts immediately and report the person to the authorities.
Meanwhile, in celebration of the Day of Hearts, the app invited Filipinos to join the activities under the “#TikTokPusuanMo” campaign which offers a slew of engaging activities during the month of love.
For Valentine’s Day, there will be a “TikTok Harana Music Line-up” which features a livestream concert starring local artists where users can submit song dedication requests on TikTok and Twitter.
The serenaders are Arthur Nery, Adie, Janine Tenoso and NOBITA.
From February 6 to 19, users can showcase their day with their special someone as inspired by the heart icon through the hashtag “#TikTokPusuanMo.”
Members of the local community can also share their own love updates on life, personal, stories or even narrations of love this year through the hashtag “#KuwentongPagibig.”
There is also a campaign dedicated to sports buffs.
The app said that those who have gym buddies can share how they stay fit together through the “#SwoleMate” hashtag. If they don’t have one, they can invite others to a “Duet” with their workout to become their “#SwoleMate.”
Athletes are also encouraged to share their clever “hugot” lines that apply to their workout or sport through the hashtag “#AtheleteHugot.”
To those who love to cook and whip up meals, TikTok said that they can showcase their efforts through “#RomanticRecipe” where they can share how they season their love for food, all with a heart theme tied to the challenge.
On the other hand, those who love to “Netflix and chill” can share romantic movies to watch or an audio playlist to listen to during the season of love under the #ValentineFlicks hashtag. They can also share films which have “hugot” or heartbreak themes for “struggling love warriors.”