Beware of these popular Temu scams circulating social media

Bad actors are tricking people into using their Temu promotional codes to receive discounts, deals, and free items, leaving you with nothing. Here's how to spot and avoid them.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Temu. on a phone
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If you're a fan of Temu, you're familiar with the app's referral code system. If you're unfamiliar, Temu offers referral codes for users to share with friends and family. If enough people use someone's referral code, both parties receive rewards, discounts, and free items from Temu.

Also: Is Temu legit? What to know before you place an order

However, Temu code referrers get the best rewards, so they're encouraged to share their codes with as many people as possible. But there are only so many people one person can share codes with, so people are taking to social media to trick people into using their Temu codes.

Here's how people are deceiving people with Temu codes on TikTok.

'Leaked' or nude photos of celebrities 

Some TikTok users will generate their referral code and tell others that if they type that code into Temu, they can view sensitive photos and videos of celebrities.

These scammers will say something like, "I thought [celebrity] was innocent", or "[Celebrity name] just got leaked," along with suggestive photos of the celebrity. According to BleepingComputer and the posts I've seen on TikTok, these celebrities range from singers and actors to popular influencers and content creators.

Also: I tried to return something to Temu. Here's what happened

Usually, these Temu scammers will exploit young TikTok scrollers' interest in seeing explicit photos of female celebrities and influencers.

Curious users will type the referral code into Temu, thinking they'll be rewarded with leaked content, but they only generate rewards for the code referrer. 

Fortnite skins or Roblox perks

Scammers also entice users to use their Temu referral codes by promising rare Fortnite skins or free Roblox Robux. Fortnite skins and Robux must be purchased in-game with real money, so receiving either for free would be an exciting deal.

However, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. The way scammers carry out this plan is identical to the previously mentioned scam. 

Also: Temu vs. Amazon: Which shopping site is best for your buying needs?

They promise free items if users type in their referral code to Temu, but they receive nothing, while the scammer gets free rewards.

Discounted merchandise on behalf of a celebrity

On my TikTok For You page, the most common Temu scam I encounter is people photoshopping tweets from celebrities to make it seem like the star has an official partnership with Temu.

Typically, these scams are a photo carousel that says, "I can't believe [celebrity name] did this!", followed by a doctored Tweet from the celebrity announcing that fans can buy their merchandise for discounted prices on Temu.

Also: 9 top mobile security threats and how you can avoid them

How do fans get this discounted merchandise? By typing in a Temu referral code, of course.

Last week, this scam was repeatedly popping up on my For You page. I saved the videos to refer to once I wrote this story, but most of the posts I saved have disappeared. My guess is that people are being misled and scammed so often that they're mass reporting these accounts.

Bottom line

If someone promises free items, scandalous information, or steep discounts on big-ticket items, they're not being truthful.

In addition to duping you into using their Temu referral code, mindlessly copying code links could lead to bad actors spreading malware onto your devices. 

Temu regularly offers discounts and promotions, so keep an eye out for the discounts offered from the app directly.

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