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 – March 4, 2015 – Millions of Android apps vulnerable to hacking

The Android operating system for mobile technology such as phones and tablets is the most popular in the world with consumers so it is no surprise that it is also immensely popular with scammers seeking to exploit any vulnerabilities they can find toward their own illegal ends.  The security company FireEye recently found more than 5 million Android apps were vulnerable to being hacked.  Because Android apps are developed with open-source coding, it is a simple matter for hackers to make counterfeit apps that appear to be legitimate apps with which people may be familiar, but which are infected with malware that can steal financial data or otherwise make you susceptible to identity theft or other scams.

TIPS

One of the best precautions you can take to prevent yourself from becoming the victim of a malware infected app is to limit where you get your apps from to sources you know that should be safe such as Google Play or the Apple app store although some malicious apps can, in some instances, survive the scrutiny of these legitimate app stores.  It should be noted that Apple products which use the iOS operating system are also becoming a more popular target of hackers as these devices grow in popularity.  Android users should also utilize antivirus software for an extra level of protection against malicious apps.  Here is a link to  a source for free anti-virus software for your Android phone.  http://www.androidcentral.com/top-free-antivirus-apps-android

Scam of the day – July 4, 2012 – Smartphone app scam

Every day there are new helpful apps for our smartphones and every day there are new corrupted apps that can lead to identity theft or worse.  A new scam now being done involves you downloading a popular app such as a video player, however the app is corrupted with malware that can take over your text messaging and without your being aware of it, start sending text messages to premium addresses that cost you money.  In addition, the malware can also, without your knowing it make calls to expensive pay-per-call numbers.  It is not until you get your first bill after your smartphone has been infected do you learn about the extra charges.

TIPS

Only download apps from legitimate app stores such as Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store.  Anytime you download an app from a source you are not sure of, you are taking a chance.  And even when you download an app from Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store, you may find yourself victimized because some of the more creative scammers will release a clean app through the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, which will check out the app, but later the scammer will send you the malware in an update to your app.  The best thing you can do in addition to only downloading apps from legitimate companies is to make sure that you have good, effective security software installed on your smartphone.  You do it for your computer and your laptop so, make sure that you do it for your smartphone as well.