Watch Out For Fake Apps!

Fall is coming on. The kids are going back to school and soon enough we’ll be getting ready to do some holiday shopping. You’re probably already deep into back-to-school shopping, if you have kids, or are just coming down from the rush of summer. If you are shopping online and looking for great deals, keeping a close eye on the apps you are downloading is vital. The scammers are out in force. Their latest trick is fake apps. Starbucks started the first “retail app”  it, and many stores have followed. One of the on-going scams is fake apps that pretend to be the official app of popular brands.

The Rise of Fake Apps

Scammers are now creating fake apps, trick you into downloading them to your smartphone or tablet, and ask you to load your credit card information in these apps. You can guess what happens next. Your information is compromised and you are spending time on the phone getting new cards sent out and reversing the fraudulent charges.

Obviously, this is a bigger issue for android users than iOS users but all smartphone users should keep a close eye on what apps they are downloading and make sure that what they intend to download is what they are getting.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind about this Scam

Be very judicious in deciding what app to download. Better safe than sorry.

Downloading unverified apps or apps from unknown developers can lead to a variety of problems. Although smartphone viruses are not common, the valuable data contained within most smartphones can be scraped and sold.

Apps with few reviews or bad reviews are a big red flag.

Never click on a link in any email to download a new app. Only go to
the website of the retailer to get a link to the legit app on the AppStore
or Google Play.

Give as little information as possible if you decide to use an app.

Apps often ask for a bunch of information, try to give out as little as possible. Give out only information that you need and if you can easily delete it after, do so.

Be very, very reluctant to link your credit card to any app!

Using your credit online has its risks, its important to decide how and when your information is being distributed, even through apps you might ordinarily trust. If they offer Samsung Pay or a service where you can pay and your information is protected, that is ideal.

There is more information about these sorts of scams at the New York Times.