Stay One Step Ahead of the Kik Creeps
Kik Messenger is an instant messaging application for mobile devices available for free on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and Symbian operating system.¹
Kik Messenger uses a username instead of a phone number which enhances the privacy of the app, above and beyond that of iPhone’s iMessage and Blackberry’s Messenger. As of April 11, 2013, there were a total of 50 million unique members registered.²
With a vast percentage of active users falling between the ages of 13 and 18, many of whom have their face as their profile picture, it is no surprise that ‘Kik creeps’ exist online and actively prowl for innocent victims. But don’t let that scare you.
‘Creeps’ exist unfortunately on all forms of social media platforms but are found in their highest numbers where there is a culture of exchanging pictures or erotic texts, known as sexting.
In this guide I will educate you about ‘creeps’, list the reasons they ‘creep’, show you some of their methods and ultimately teach you how to protect yourself online. Think you know everything already? Stick around – you might just learn something.
If you have any concerns, are worried about an incident or would like to talk to someone in confidence, please jump right to the bottom of this article to the Help Me section for a host of useful links.
New article: Snapchat Sexting – If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it well (opens in new window)
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Definition of a Creep
A creep is the unofficial name given to any man or woman (or boy or girl) who deliberately targets persons of the same or opposite gender to initiate conversation in the hope of personal gain, through the means of sexting, picture sharing or even meeting up. A creep will most often use a disguised profile and well rehearsed strategy to obtain the information they want, sometimes resorting to blackmail and scare tactics when unable to.
A creep will use false names, false profile pictures, false information about themselves and fake photos to fool the innocent party into believing they are someone they are not. Once they feel a certain level of trust is established they may then attempt to acquire whatever they want. On Kik, you only need to look through the number of Tumblr advertisements for ‘Kik’ to see how prevalent men asking for nudes is.
Although slightly less common, there are a number of people, often parts of online gangs who target women and men for erotic pictures. Once they acquire the pictures they then use this against you as a form of blackmail. They will delete the images in return for a sum of money! It sounds crazy but it does happen – see here - Blackmail Fraudsters target Webcam Daters
Note that not every guy (or girl) asking for nudes is necessarily a creep who has a more pronounced agenda but do be wary of these people. There is nothing wrong with sharing pictures of yourself so long as you are over the age required for your country and are speaking with someone whom is also above that required age in their country.
There are few foolproof methods for proving that the person you are talking to is who you think it is. But luckily for you, we have a couple of tricks which we will share with you!
How A Creep Will Attempt To Fool You
Imagine for a moment that you have just posted a message on your Tumblr blog which either features the word Kik or is tagged with the word Kik. All you want is a friendly conversation with your followers. Problem is, your post and any attached pictures and blog links will now appear in a search for Kik too, as well as on your blog.
A creep is most likely to be searching for posts tagged with kik, kik messenger, kik me, kik chat, dirty kik, sexy kik, kik users, kik usernames and a lot more (just type kik into the search bar to see the suggestions if you don’t believe me!)
If your post or any tags contain any of those words anywhere within, they may also show up from a search, even if the words are in a different order.
The creep will note your username and will now add you on Kik. They will most likely have an attractive profile picture – but don’t expect it to be the person you are talking to necessarily. It would be wise to always assume the person in the picture is not who are talking to, until you are proven otherwise.
Lets also presume for a moment this creep has an agenda. He loves to chat up women who are a few years younger than him, some whom are a few years south of 18. Ultimately he wants erotic pictures – a sexy conversation at the very least. A clever creep will not start the conversation by sending you a picture of his privates (this is also very common on Kik!) but will try to accrue trust by being really friendly and complimentary.
Through everything he does he wants to instil a sense of security and trust between you two before eventually enquiring almost lightheartedly whether you would be ‘interested’ in anything erotic. He seems like a nice enough guy – he apparently lives in the same country, is the same age, has a stunning figure, beautiful face and attractive personality. You couldn’t be blamed for being tempted to engage in something kinky potentially. Hell, he makes it sound like fun!
You feel fine about it. You know there are few ways to check if he is who he says he is, so you try those…
Simple Ways to Check Someone is Who They Say They Are
First you could ask him about his Tumblr (or some other social media profile), which he’ll hopefully give you. From that you can see everything he has told you matches up. There are also more pictures of the same good looking body and face.
Secondly you might ask him for a picture of himself just so you know who you are talking to. When he sends you a picture you can check to see if the picture is sent from his phone ‘camera’ direct or his ‘gallery’ of saved images.
Now you have received a picture direct from his camera of his face matching that of the one on their profile picture and their blog – foolproof right?
(You’ll see in the screenshot the word gallery above the picture – this will change to camera if the image was taken from their camera directly from within the Kik app.)
How possibly could they not be the person they say they are?
How The Creep Evades those Common Checks
Because a genuine creep will do this sort of thing day in and day out, quite successfully, he or she will have their blog and profile information well memorised hence everything matching up. It really isn’t that hard to do!
Secondly the camera and gallery trick! For a creep to send you a photograph from their gallery which ‘appears’ to come direct or in real-time from their phone, they just have to take a picture of a picture.
So for example, I could go into camera mode from within the Kik app and take a picture of someone from on my iPad (who matches the person in my profile!) This way, when I send the photo, it appears to have come direct from my camera and thus making the person I’m talking to believe they are talking to that person live!
I know that sounds easy – it is. You may think you would recognise whether a picture has been taken off of a device or not but it can be incredibly difficult, especially when you aren’t looking for it! So just bear those two things in mind!
A further way recently brought to our attention via the comments below is through an app called Fake Camera. This app allows you to send photos appearing to be from the Camera which are actually from the Gallery. This just goes to prove how unreliable this is as a trustworthy source.
How To Prove Almost Indefinitely Who You Are Talking With
If you are looking for ways to ascertain who you are talking to on Kik you have come to the right section. Below are a couple of methods (there are of course more!) which will assist you. If you are suspicious now about someone you have been talking to, ask them for one of the things below – if they dodge the question or disappear, you might just have your answer!
Firstly you could ask them whether they have an app called SnapChat. Snapchat enables users to send photos and videos to people with a maximum time limit of 10 seconds. Of course, don’t let them just send you a photograph on Snapchat because they will just repeat the method mentioned above of photographing a photograph! Instead, get them to send you a video of themselves! What friendly person worth talking to on Kik wouldn’t be prepared to do that?!
If they don’t have Snapchat, or if you don’t have snapchat you can always employ method two!
Be aware on Snapchat though that images and videos can now be saved using Snapchat Save Apps… make sure anything you send on Snapchat is decent enough that you would be happy for it to be saved – just in case!
If the creep has a number of images of their alias (the person they are pretending to be) then why not ask them for a picture they aren’t likely to have lurking in their gallery. Ask them for a high-five photo, or a picture of them winking, or looking grumpy – anything slightly unusual which will require an actual photo to be taken! Once again, unless they are who they say they are, they are likely to drop you or block you right about now.
Those two methods have proved invaluable for countless people who want the reassurance of knowing who they are talking to!
How Can Creeps Blackmail You?
Creeps usually resort to simple blackmailing as a last resort for getting what they want. Lets invent a scenario (happened to my friend the other day.)
Lucy is added by a guy on Kik. She gets chatting with the guy for a while, exchanging very superficial details such as tumblr blog titles and names etc. A little while later the guy asks her for photographs of her body which she declines. The guy then tells her that if she doesn’t send him pictures he is going to post fake pictures of nudes onto the internet and Tumblr, tagged with her Kik username and blog name. Lucy proceeds to panic – she only came on for a friendly chat and now someone is blackmailing her. She deletes the conversation and blocks the man. In her panic she also deletes her precious blog and deactivates her Facebook temporarily in case he has already noticed the profile pictures match.
It may not sound scary but trust me, the feeling that someone has something against you and is prepared to go to extreme lengths to slander your name online is not fun – and there is realistically very little you can do about it. Imagine if this happened once you had sent full body images of yourself naked?
The truth of the matter is is that this creep is likely to just move on to another target. There is nothing further for him to gain from actually going through with his threats. Once you decline and block him there is little chance of him getting what he wants, so he’ll move on.
If you are in a similar situation right now do bear that in mind! Also try to remember just how much information they have about you and consider monitoring your blog if you are concerned.
Advanced Methods for Checking Peoples Images
If you are talking to someone online and want to run a particularly insightful check of their profile image, consider using a reverse image search engine. I personally use TinEye as it can be used on your phone so long as the image you want to search is saved into your gallery. It is very simple to use and the results come back in seconds. Alternatively you could use Googles very own Reverse Image Search (just Google it.)
A reverse image search will show you whether or not an image is being used or hosted elsewhere on the web. If an image has just been taken or is not taken from google images it will come back with zero results. Sometimes you might have ‘similar’ results, none of which match, and that is ok too.
A creep can get round a reverse image search by using pictures of his friends which he knows aren’t online elsewhere. So while zero results is a good sign, it isn’t completely foolproof.
Also, bear in mind that a creep can use the above tool to find out more information about you. Any site where you use that profile image will ping up in the search results. Consider for this reason alone using a new photo for each website containing a profile picture. Also, please note that profile pictures on Facebook are blocked from Google so cannot appear.
Kik Security – The Legal Bit
This is taken directly from the Kik Legal section of their website. I’m just making you aware that Kik does store some information about you. While this may or may not include all the information you Kik people, it could, so just bear this in mind.
The security of your Personal Information is important to us. We use commercially reasonable efforts to store and maintain your Personal Information in a secure environment and have implemented commercially reasonable procedures designed to limit unauthorized access, use or disclosure of your Personal Information. Despite these measures, you should know that Kik cannot fully eliminate security risks associated with Personal Information.
Reporting Someone on Kik
If someone is harassing you on Kik you can report them to the Kik team by contacting them and sending them excerpts of the conversation. The problem is, even if they do suspend that persons account, they cannot stop them making another account so it doesn’t get you anywhere!
Kik Bug Allows Blocked People To Add You To Group Messages
It has come to my attention that there is a bug currently in the Kik app which allows persons who are blocked to still add you into group conversations. There is no fix currently available for this problem. While Kik have been made aware there have been no recent updates to the software.
The only solution I can offer is to minimise the impact of this bug by disabling notifications from non-friends. To do this go to the Kik App Home Page > Notifications > Ignore New People > Off.
Have you done something you regret? Are you freaking out right now? Don’t panic.
The best thing for you to do is to contact someone who won’t judge you for what you have done. It also helps if they are the kind of person who will understand the world of sexting and Kik!
Tell a friend or family member!
If you aren’t able to or don’t feel like contacting someone you know, there are multiple charities that provide free and confidential listening services. Take a look at some of the following links below, or search on google for something relevant to you!
If you are being harassed or are concerned for your safety in any way, do not feel guilty about phoning your local authorities. If you are in the UK you can phone 999 if you think you are in immediate danger, or 101 in some counties to talk to your local police.
From another country? Search Google for your relevant authorities!
Help Section for Parents
The ‘online’ world can be a confusing and somewhat dangerous place for anyone, let alone young adults. What young people do on their phones is very much a private ordeal and you as a parent may have a number of concerns about what they are doing but are unsure how to approach the subject. A few of the links above may prove useful to you but there are a number of useful books and e-books that are available which a number of readers of this article have suggested (hence their inclusion!)
The following books are not specific to Kik but help address many of the issues surrounding online safety and can prove a lifeline for parents in need of assistance.
A Parents Guide to Online Safety – Published 30th June 2013
Is Your Child Safe Online – Published 30th March 2012