Just because you downloaded a shopping app from a legitimate app store doesn’t mean the app itself is legitimate.
Recent news reports note that fake retail and product apps have shown up in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store. The timing couldn’t be worse, given the holiday shopping season is upon us.
The New York Times reported the counterfeit apps have masqueraded as familiar retail chains, including Foot Locker, Nordstrom, Zappos and others. The New York Post said an app bearing the Coach label offered 20 percent off. Coach told the newspaper it doesn’t have an app. CNET reports similar issues.
While some of the apps are relatively harmless, the Times reported there are risks to be concerned about:
- Providing your credit card information could lead to potential financial fraud
- Some fake apps could contain malware that can steal personal information or even lock the phone until the user pays a ransom.
- Some fakes encourage users to log in using their social media credentials, potentially exposing sensitive personal information.
What should you do? Be on the lookout for apps that signal they’re not real — butchered English, a lack of app reviews and no history of previous app versions.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re downloading a legitimate app? Go to your chosen retailer’s website to look for links to download the company’s real apps. Those links should take you to the retailer’s legitimate app on the app stores.
*Article reprinted with permission from LifeLock. LifeLock is a partner with the Medical Association, and members receive discounts on memberships. Click here for more information.