Why Do Random People Add Me on Snapchat? An Entrepreneur‘s Guide

As an avid Snapchat user and small business owner, I often receive friend requests and messages from unfamiliar people. With over 363 million daily active Snapchatters, this issue impacts a huge number of users.

In my experience managing social media for my startup, random Snapchat contacts can become a major distraction and security concern. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll take a data-driven look at why strangers add Snapchat users and how entrepreneurs can handle these situations.

The Rising Popularity of Snapchat

Since launching in 2011, Snapchat has experienced meteoric growth:

  • Daily active users increased over 20% year-over-year to 363 million by the end of 2022.
  • Over 90% of Snapchat‘s daily active users engage with the app more than 20 times per day.
  • There has been a 10-15% annual growth in Snapchat usage among those 35 and older as older generations adopt the platform.

For context, if Snapchat was a country it would be the 3rd most populous country in the world. This massive user base means entrepreneurs have an opportunity to reach millions of potential customers through clever Snapchat marketing campaigns.

However, it also means the platform has become prime hunting grounds for scammers, spammers, and harassers targeting both individuals and businesses.

How Random People Discover You on Snapchat

Through my own experience and research into social media marketing tactics, I‘ve identified the main ways strangers can find your account and send requests:

Quick Add Contact Suggestions

Snapchat‘s Quick Add feature recommends new friends based on factors like your contacts, location data, shared connections, recent in-person interactions captured through Snapchat‘s Nearby feature, and potentially other data points.

While Quick Add can help users discover friends of friends, it also exposes you to strangers who happen to frequent the same spaces or have loosely shared contacts.

Username Lookups

Any Snapchatter can search usernames on the app and send a friend request if they find your profile. So even if you have privacy settings activated, public visibility of your username allows strangers to locate your account.

Linked Phone Numbers

Phone number linkages power Snapchat‘s friend recommendation algorithm. However, if you connect your phone number to Snapchat, anyone who has that number in their contacts can potentially find and add your profile.

Third-Party Services

A number of dubious third-party apps and sites offer tools to locate Snapchat users. People who take advantage of these services may spam friend requests out to hundreds of strangers.

Motivations Behind Random Snapchat Friend Requests

Through my research and personal experience receiving spam contacts, I‘ve identified both malicious and innocuous reasons strangers send friend requests:

Marketing and Spam Bots

As an entrepreneur relying on Snapchat to reach customers, I‘ve encountered spam bots aiming to drive traffic to scam websites by blasting links out to thousands of users. These nuisance bots are often easy to spot thanks to their generic usernames and lack of personal snaps.

However, some marketing bots have become more advanced. I‘ve received friend requests from bots promoting brands through contest giveaways or influencer partnerships. While not directly dangerous, these marketing bots still clutter your feed without permission.

Scammers and Social Engineers

More concerning are social engineering scams looking to manipulate victims into handing over money or sensitive data. A common tactic is using photos of attractive women or men to convince strangers to sign up for adult dating sites that demand credit card info.

As Snapchat has implemented more security features, scammers have adapted techniques like emoji-based code systems to avoid detection while coordinating cons.


"Catfish" accounts use fake identities and stolen photos to manipulate strangers into online relationships for attention or even extortion. Snapchat‘s playful filters and disappearing messages help catfishers maintain their cover story during long-term deceptions.

I recently had a Snapchat catfisher steal photos of me from Instagram to create a fake account. They used this disguise to add many of my Snapchat friends. Luckily their poor impersonation made their scam obvious, but other catfishers invest more effort into believable fakes.


Hackers frequently rely on social engineering to gather info to compromise accounts. By adding strangers, hackers can analyze profiles for any exposed personal data. And by initiating conversations, they may be able to trick users into handing over phone numbers, addresses, passwords, or other sensitive info.

While hacking individuals may not seem worthwhile, Snapchat accounts can provide access to enterprise data systems if connected professionals reuse vulnerable passwords from work.

Harassers and Bullies

Snapchat can become a vehicle for harassment campaigns, especially among teens. Strangers add targets to bombard them with abusive comments or unsolicited adult content. Snapchat‘s disappearing messages and inability to report conversations (vs individual snaps) empower harassers to continually torment victims.

Impacts on Businesses

As social media becomes crucial to small business operations, Snapchat issues can directly hurt companies:

  • Wasted Time: Monitoring and clearing spam/scam requests eats into valuable working hours. Based on average hourly wages for entrepreneurs, just 30 mins a day spent managing unwanted Snapchats costs over $9k annually.
  • Brand Damage: Scam bots often appropriate real company names and images. These impersonator accounts can harm brands through malicious activities under the guise of the business.
  • Reputational Risks: Catfishers, harassers, and scammers may drag business names into inappropriate situations which damage public perception of the company.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: Hackers can leverage compromised personal accounts to launch cyberattacks on affiliated businesses. And employees may expose proprietary data through informal Snapchat conversations.

So random Snapchat contacts generate more than just personal nuisance. They present real financial, legal, and operational threats to organizations.

Best Practices for Handling Strange Snapchat Friend Requests

Drawing from my own entrepreneurial experience, here are my top recommendations for minimizing risks from random Snapchat adds:

Adjust Account Privacy Settings

I configure my personal Snapchat to only allow friends to contact me directly or view my Stories. To change this, go to Settings > Privacy > Contact Me/View My Story and toggle these options to "My Friends".

You can also disable Quick Add friend suggestions in Settings > Additional Services > Manage Preferences.

For business accounts, keep contact information private and limit visibility of snaps and stories.

Decline All Requests from Unfamiliar Accounts

Whenever I receive a random friend request, I automatically decline by tapping the X icon. I also report suspicious accounts to Snapchat for additional scrutiny.

Proactively Block Suspicious Users

If I spot an account repeatedly viewing my Stories or sending me chat invites, I block them. You can block accounts by pressing and holding on their name then selecting the Block option.

Routinely Audit Friends Lists

Once a quarter I purge any contacts I no longer recognize or interact with regularly. Snapchat permanently deleted over 80 million abandoned accounts in 2024, so dead accounts build up quickly.

Use Unique Usernames and Do Not Link Phone Numbers

To complicate friend searches, I create usernames difficult for strangers to guess. I also avoid linking personal phone numbers that are searchable in contact lists.

For business accounts, user names should contain your company name but without spaces or special characters that get stripped out by search engines.

Leverage Enterprise Social Media Management Platforms

For larger brands, social media management systems like Hootsuite offer enhanced security capabilities compared to native Snapchat tools. This includes advanced account/content monitoring, team collaboration features, and integration with customer relationship management (CRM) databases.

Seizing the Entrepreneurial Upsell Opportunity

While random Snapchat contacts create risks, they also drive demand for social media personalization and security offerings. As an entrepreneur I see major upsell potential around:

Social Media Clean Up Services: Offer dedicated social media account auditing, friend vetting, privacy adjustments, and removal of unwanted contacts.

Social Media Marketing Consulting: Provide best practice guides and direct configuration support to help brands maximize social media opportunity while avoiding platform-specific bottlenecks.

Multi-Account & Brand Monitoring Platforms: Build secure enterprise-grade social media management tools tailored to growing startups and small businesses.

Social Media Cybersecurity: Develop specialized security solutions to protect social media accounts and brand integrity with features like enhanced authentication protocols, AI-powered anomaly detection, and identity protection services.

With innovation and the right business model, entrepreneurs can turn Snapchat‘s spam epidemic into a lucrative opportunity while keeping clients safe.

The Bottom Line

Random Snapchat contacts can range from a harmless nuisance to serious security events for both individuals and businesses. But by understanding motivations for strangers adding you, configuring a few privacy settings, and remaining vigilant, most unwanted interactions can be avoided outright.

For entrepreneurs specifically, reducing social media risk exposure prevents countless headaches so you can focus on customers rather than spammers. And where challenges exist, innovative security, management, and monitoring solutions present exciting business opportunities.