Image Credit: Dualstar Productions

Are TikTok Grifts Just True Crime For The Chronically Online? Let's Investigate

TikTok is the Wild West of the internet, where girls voluntarily offer humiliating dating stories completely unprovoked, influencers push insanely priced designer items they got for free, and tradwives share five-hour homemade peanut butter and jelly recipes — all on the same platform. I don’t think the United States government understands just how much we as a nation depend on this app for serotonin. Still, I will need a suitable buyer to step in and save TikTok from the ban before we all suffer irreparable consequences.

Without TikTok, where else would we encounter some of the most ridiculous scams the internet has to offer and be able to take down the culprit in their comments until they admit defeat? Uncovering TikTok grifts and roasting the grifters in real-time is basically true crime fulfillment for the chronically online. Some of us much prefer dunking on delusional Hollywood directors than drooling over serial killers. It’s all of the drama without any of the murder victim trauma! Don’t believe me? Here are some of the juiciest grifts exposed on TikTok that make you feel like a New York Times investigative journalist just by scrolling.

The A24 Movie That Never Happened

@nicolascurciowriter Don’t lie on the internet! #a24 #marykateteske #filmmaking ♬ original sound – Nic | WGA Screenwriter

Like user “Nic | WGA Screenwriter” says at the beginning of his breakdown video unpacking the following scam, this is a really weird thing to lie about on the internet. Last summer, Mary Kate Teske got a lot of attention after posting the true story surrounding her 1961 Dodge Lancer. The internet, as it is wont to do, insisted that the unique story should be “turned into a movie or a book.” Mary Kate saw those comments and ran with it, launching a GoFundMe this past fall to help make her dream movie come true — except she had previously told viewers she sent the script to friend/actor Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl) and asked her followers to tag A24 (the iconic studio behind ZolaEuphoria, and other bangers) which implied she was shopping the movie around Hollywood instead of funding it independently.

On February 23, Mary Kate told fans to keep tagging A24 and book publishers and continue donating to her GoFundMe. Six days later, on February 29, she claimed A24 had answered her prayers and bought her script. But anyone mildly familiar with the industry or contracts in general instantly caught a major red flag: even if landing a meeting with top film executives could somehow fall together that quickly, having a feature film contract offered and executed in less than a week remains virtually impossible. The next day, Mary Kate and her wife filmed an objectively over-the-top video prepping for a 24-hour whirlwind trip to New York City, where she was ~ allegedly ~ crowned A24’s next big director… that she just so happened to film zero footage of. As of late March, Mary Kate has kept up the rouse. Her movie is “on schedule” for a 2025 release, and she maintains that all the money donated has gone to her A24 project, but at this point, no one is buying it.

Chiara Ferragni’s Fake Charity Cakes

Chiara Ferragni
Image Credit: Getty Images

If you’re not Italian (like me), then you probably have no idea who Chiara Ferragni is, but the influencer is practically an overseas household name with nearly 30 million Instagram followers. That huge following recently got Chiara in major legal trouble when she started promoting her limited edition pandoro Christmas cakes (a traditional Italian treat) this past holiday season, claiming that the proceeds would go to a charitable children’s hospital foundation.

In reality, Chiara and her cake company had previously made one sizeable but singular donation to the Turin hospital. Where did the rest of the profits from the expensive “Pandoro Pink Christmas Cake” sales go? They pocketed them. Chiara has since apologized, claiming she was not paying close enough attention to the details of her company’s deal-making, and has been heftily fined by Italy’s antitrust agency.

Mikaela Mascara

@mikaylanogueira THESE ARE THE LASHES OF MY DREAMS!! @lorealparisusa never lets me down 😭 #TelescopicLift #LorealParisPartner #LorealParis @zoehonsinger ♬ original sound – Mikayla Nogueira

Mega make-up influencer Mikayla Nogueria made some noise on TikTok last January — not just for her hard-to-believe Boston accent or scolding fans about the hardship of being an influencer. In a paid partnership with L’Oreal for their Telescopic mascara, Mikayla hailed the lengthening magic of the mighty drugstore product without acknowledging she may have also added false lashes on top of the mascara, secretly upping her results. While it seems like a relatively innocent white lie, fans were outraged at the more significant issue of powerful influencers pushing products they don’t believe in or regularly use on gullible consumers that Mikayla brought to light.

Coachella Scam

@hi_im_beks Sharing this scam ahead of weekend 2 Coachella to warn others as this guy is running it again on his socials. Watch till the end for his name and details. #coachella #coachella2024 #scam ♬ original sound – Beks

Some influencers fake being at Coachella for likes; others offer fake tickets under the guise of helping budding artists. Australian artist Beks met a “seven-time Grammy award-winning” producer during a trip to Los Angeles who offered her a VIP pass and accommodation in Indio Valley for the Coachella festival that upcoming weekend. She quickly forked over an initial $2K for the wristband because of the producer’s alleged accolades and prominent social media following, where she saw his promises of a shared artists’ house full of musicians and producers. Except after she sent the payment, things got weird.

The producer told Beks the e-payment didn’t go through, so she met up with him to give him $1200 in cash to claim her spot in the house, with the remaining $2k to be repaid once her bank cleared the pending funds. But on the Saturday of the festival, instead of sending Beks an address, the producer told her the house had fallen through, so he was going to find somewhere else for them to stay where “no one could find [them].” He also told Beks that they’d run out of the VIP passes he’d promised. Weirded out by the switch-up, Beks checked with her bank, and the original $2K payment had gone through after all. She realized she’d lost $3,200 to a scam and wasn’t the only one. Others have stepped forward with the same story since Beks’ posts begging the LAPD to investigate the fraud.

Winnie’s Dating Coach Go Fund Me


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A post shared by Winnie (@winnieparkerr)

Okay, this particular grift isn’t based on lies, as much as it is foolishness. Influencer Winnie Parker recently got on BlackTok’s bad side after using a few careless words to talk about what it’s like having a Black audience on TikTok. I personally think her greater crime is the level of cringe in her constant dating fails and “funny” baby daddy tea (not funny haha, funny weird), but that’s up for debate. After ostracizing her fan base, Winnie thought it was a good idea to get on God’s internet and ask the same people she called unsupportive to contribute to her $3000 GoFundMe goal — for what, you may ask? A luxury Atlanta-based matchmaker, of course. Winnie is only 30 years old and gainfully employed, so the comments immediately questioned why we, the public, should feel inclined to foot the bill for her love life in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. Winnie’s original video and subsequent angry responses were taken down, but the GoFundMe is still easily Googleable should you seek a delulu charity write-off.

@champbailie Winnie, take a break babe! #winnieparker ♬ original sound – Champbailie
Marissa Dow
Marissa Dow
MARISSA is a trending news writer at Betches. She's more than just another pop-culture-addicted-east-coaster-turned-LA-transplant...she's also an upcoming television writer and aspiring Real Housewife (whichever comes first). Live, laugh, balegdah.