Beware of Fake Holiday Shopping Apps

If you ever search for a popular app in the Apple App Store, you will inevitably see a bunch of copycats trying to provoke name recognition in order to trick you into downloading their app. This is usually quite harmless, but during the holidays it can become a more dangerous problem.

This is because app makers sometimes target popular stores like Zappos or Foot Locker and create a mock app to trick people who are not really paying attention. This matters for retail applications because you ultimately plan to provide them with your credit card information. The New York Times recently looked into this issue after a flood of fake apps surfaced a few weeks ago:

On Friday, for example, an organization calling itself Overstock Inc. – an apparent attempt to confuse shoppers looking for online store Overstock.com – sold ugg boots and clothing through a fake app that was nearly identical to the one Apple kicked out on Thursday. …

It turns out that most of these apps are made in China and often contain broken English. It’s a red flag and they usually don’t have version history or reviews. The purpose of some of these apps is just to feed you a bunch of ads, which is pretty harmless, but you still need to be on the lookout if you’re going to give your billing information to anything suspicious. Apple does its best to remove fake apps from the store, but they don’t always catch everything.

This may seem obvious to those of us who are working with new apps on a daily basis, but people less experienced in navigating the little things and noise of the Internet can fall prey to. Read the article to get a little more information on the creators of fake apps and be vigilant when trying to shop online.

IPhone Users Beware: Fake Retail Apps Rise Ahead of Holidays | The newspaper “New York Times

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