Scam of the day – January 2, 2017 – Mobile app scams

There seems to be a mobile app for just about anything you could possibly want to do and scammers are quite aware of this which is why the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued a warning to shoppers in particular about phony apps being circulated by cybercriminals who harvest credit card information, banking information and other personal information from phony shopping apps that they lure people into downloading that appear to be legitimate.   A couple of months ago, I warned you about a few specific phony apps that were made to look like the real apps for Christian Dior, Foot Locker, Nordstrom, Jimmy Choo and Dollar Tree.

TIPS

It is important to limit your downloading of apps to legitimate sources such as the Apple App Store and Google Play to avoid malware infected apps. Before downloading any app, read the reviews carefully.  While scammers will write glowing phony reviews about their apps, their reviews are usually cursory and do not provide much information.   You can also go directly to a legitimate retailers website for information about any apps they may have for their products.  Also, you can do a search on Google or other search engines using the words “fake app” along with the name of the company whose app you are interested in to see if there have been reports of problems.   Finally, make sure that you have installed security software on your phone and that it is updated with the latest security patches.

Scam of the day – November 10, 2016 – Phony Apps turning up on the Apple App Store

Numerous sources are reporting about phony apps turning up in the Apple App Store.  With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, these phony apps, many of which are meant to look like apps for legitimate retailers such as Christian Dior, Foot Locker, Nordstrom, Jimmy Choo or Dollar Tree,  present a real danger to consumers who may unwittingly provide their credit card information to a scammer through one of these apps.

While everyone should recognize the risk of downloading apps from unofficial sources, it has generally been believed that you are safer downloading an app from legitimate sources such as the Apple App Store or Google Play where apps are vetted before being made available to the public.  However, it appears that lately there has been an increase in dangerous phony apps with most of them originating in China.

TIPS

It is still a good idea to limit your downloading of apps from legitimate sources such as the Apple App Store and Google Play to avoid malware infected apps.  Phony apps for Pokemon Go was a problem for many people last Summer, particularly in countries where the game was not yet released.  Before downloading any app, read the reviews carefully.  While scammers will write glowing phony reviews about their apps, their reviews are usually cursory and do not provide much information.  Also, make sure that you have installed security software on your phone and that it is updated with the latest security patches.