In an official release, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned shoppers of fraudulent mobile applications during the holiday shopping season which has proven to result in plenty of cases of online fraud and identity theft.
Fake phone apps are on the rise, those that impersonate popular retailers’ apps while purporting to offer discounts for shoppers who are increasingly turning toward mobile apps for shopping. The Federal Trade Commission has issued an alert on its official website, urging caution among shoppers during the festive period.
“As more and more consumers are shopping with mobile apps, fraudsters are following the money,” writes FTC consumer education specialist Ari Lazarus.
The expert added:
There are fake phone apps popping up that impersonate well-known retailers in order to steal your personal information. Their names are similar to well-known brands, and their descriptions promise enticing deals or features.
These fraudulent apps gather credit or payment card information from unsuspecting victims. Bank account details are also at risk. These fakes have also shown to install malware on victims’ phones, demanding a ransom in return to allow users regain access to their phones.
The country’s official consumer protection agency lays out a handful of tips and pointers, educating users on how to tell the fake apps from the real ones.
A good tip is to head over to the retailer’s website directly to check if there is a mobile app advertised. If there is, opting for advertised links to directly reach the app store and the retailer’s original app is recommended.
Another tip suggests users check to see the reviews of the application. Although fraudulent apps can have a number of fake reviews (the lack of reviews allows to question the authenticity of the app), a massive number of reviews – in their thousands – usually points to a legitimate app.
Besides advising users to monitor credit card statements frequently for new or unrecognizable charges, the advisory has another tip for online shoppers using mobile apps.
If you’re using apps for shopping, keep records of your transactions. Screenshot or save the product description and price, the online receipt, and the emails you send and receive from the seller.
LIFARS wishes its readers and clients happy and secure times during these holidays!
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