Security researchers have uncovered a phishing operation targeting high-profile TikTok accounts owned by influencers, brand consultants, production studios and influencer managers.

In the first case, actors impersonate TikTok employees, who threatened the recipient with the immediate removal of his account after an alleged violation of the platform’s rules.

Another strategy is to offer a ‘Verified’ badge that gives credibility and authenticity to the account. As many people are interested in getting the badge, this strategy evidently seems to be very sweet bait.

In both cases, the attackers provide an embedded link at the end of the statement.

As soon as they click on the link, they are forwarded to a WhatsApp chat room where they meet a fraudster posing as a TikTok employee.

The scammer then asks for their email address, phone number and a one-time code required to bypass multifactor authentication and reset the account password.

According to the researchers, the phishing attack aims to either take over an attack or force account holders to pay a ransom to get their accounts back.