‘Fake’ Apps: A new threat to the everyday consumer
The rapid advancements in the mobile phone and ease of access to vast amounts of mobile applications (“Apps”) has made it seem that there is an App for everything and anything. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to the consumer, a vast number of fake Apps have recently infiltrated the various App Stores. While some of the ‘fake’ Apps merely display an immense amount of banner advertisements, others could pose a greater threat by containing malware that could gain access to a consumer’s personal information on their mobile, including the credit card information from unsuspecting consumers.
Consumers should therefore be more vigilant before clicking the ‘download’ or ‘install’ icon. The following recommendations to consumers are to be considered prior to downloading any mobile App:
- Consumers should always check and attempt verify who the publisher of the App is;
- The reviews of an App are useful to a consumer as it provides not only information pertaining to the general functioning of the App but also comments by other users regarding the problems encountered with the App;
- Check for spelling mistakes, as a scammer may slightly misspell words in order to confuse and dupe unsuspecting consumers;
- The publish date could also assist in that a ‘fake’ App will usually have a recently published date, unlike a legitimate App which provides an ‘updated on’ link before the published date;
- Be wary of Apps that promise high discounts or extremely low prices. Follow the principle that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is;
- When in doubt, download the App that has the most downloads or visit the website of the store in your browser in order to download the App directly from the website via the ‘Get our App’ icon or link.