TikTok users are recording fake FaceTime calls that other users can play when they think they’re in danger.
Several men and women on the app have generously recorded these ‘safety calls,’ in which they pretend to be on the other side of a faux FaceTime call — and add written prompts on the screen for how the viewer should respond if they’re alone and worried about their safety.
There are dozens of different versions that viewers can use if they’re walking by themselves and think they’re being followed, if they’re on campus, or even if they’re in a rideshare an don’t feel secure.
TikTok users are recording fake FaceTime calls that other users can play when they think they’re in danger
One of the most prolific safety calls makers is Mendy Perdew, a costume designer and mom from Beaufort, South Carolina.
She has made several different versions that viewers can use, including one to play if you’re outside near a store, a couple for walking to school, and several for people who need an angry ‘mom call’ with a mother’s voice telling them off for breaking curfew — and threatening that dad is on the way.
In one, she films a close-up of her face and says: ‘Hey, I just got your text. Did I read that correctly? Did you say someone’s following you?’
Here, a written prompt on screen tells the viewer to answer, ‘Yeah, I think so.’
‘Do you need me to come out?’ she goes on. ‘It looks like you’re right up the street from my house. Do you want me and Dave to come outside?’
Here, a written prompt tells the viewer to answer yes.
Faking it! One of the most prolific safety calls makers is Mendy Perdew, a costume designer and mom from Beaufort, South Carolina
‘I think it’s safe to say we all face [similar experiences] at one time or another,’ she said. ‘That was why I created it just to help … my friends, my co-workers, my mom’
‘That’s not cool,’ she says. ‘I wanna get a look at this dude’s face. I don’t like that happening around here. Do you recognize the person at all?’
After the viewer is prompted to say no, Mendy says: ‘You know what, don’t even stop to turn around to look at him. Just get somewhere safe, get to where you’re going. We’re on the way. We’ll be there in a minute to pick you up and then we’ll ride around to see if we can figure out who it is.’
She signs off the video by telling the viewer to ‘just keep talking to me’ to keep the ruse of the FaceTime call going for as long as needed.
Mendy told Good Morning America that she knows from experience how scary it can be to walk on your own at night.
‘I used to work in a mall and leaving it, walking out into a mall parking lot at 10 o’clock at night is terrifying,’ she said.
‘I think it’s safe to say we all face [similar experiences] at one time or another. That was why I created it just to help … my friends, my co-workers, my mom, because, you know, I have been in that position.’
Good dad: Another TikToker making safety calls is Ohio father-of-two Craig Conrad , who creates calls with ‘dad’
Helpful: He has specific ones for walking home on a college campus or riding in an Uber or Lyft — and even made different ones for a dad talking to a son versus a daughter
In addition to uploading pre-made videos, she also offers personalized ones for viewers who DM her.
Mendy added that while speaking to an actual person on the phone is ideal, sometimes people get busy and need a substitute.
‘My best friend and my mother work long hours and they find themselves in the dark walking across parking lots alone quite a bit,’ she told Mashable. ‘I do my best to always answer the phone, but life happens. I made the videos with them in mind hoping I could make a few more people comfortable crossing parking lots.’
She also expressed satisfaction that the safety call videos are ‘encouraging folks to be more aware of their surroundings.’
‘I think the videos reminded people, ‘”Oh yeah! I should probably be more careful.” That alone will help keep many of us safer.”
Kristie Bloss, a 31-year-old viewer, says the videos have made her feel safer, and she’s use them while walking her dog or riding her bike.
Stepping in: In others, TikTokers pretend to be friends or significant others of the viewer
‘I’ve had issues with people approaching me before and I was so excited to have that on my phone,’ she told GMA. ‘Her safety calls are so good because she has that sharp voice.’
Another TikToker making safety calls is Ohio father-of-two Craig Conrad, who creates calls with ‘dad.’
He has specific ones for walking home on a college campus or riding in an Uber or Lyft — and even made different ones for a dad talking to a son versus a daughter.
In other videos, he poses as a husband.
‘What I tried to do was catch all of the different needs that people were putting out there,’ he told GMA.
‘I would try to formulate a script that would be applicable in numerous situations or for numerous people in any situation that they might be in.’