Published On: Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Be Aware of Fake Retail Apps When Shopping Online

Be Aware of Fake Retail Apps When Shopping Online
Counterfeit apps are designed to look and feel like they belong to legitimate retail stores.

VICTORIA - The Better Business Bureau serving Vancouver Island (BBB-VI) is warning consumers to use caution when purchasing retail store or online shopping apps.

Counterfeit apps are designed to look and feel like they belong to legitimate retail stores. In some cases, the fake apps are relatively harmless and only result in an influx of pop-up junk ads in the app.

In other cases, when the fake app is installed and opened on your phone phishing scams begin, credit card information is stolen or malware is installed with the intent of stealing passwords and private banking information. In some instances, phones are even being locked down and held hostage until a ransom is paid to the scam artist.

BBB-VI recommends the following tips to protect yourself from becoming a victim of fake shopping apps this season:

  • Be very cautious when deciding what app to download. Read the reviews.
  • Never click on a link in any email to download a new app. Go to the website of the retailer to get a link to the legitimate app in the App Store.
  • If you do decide to use an app, give as little information as possible.
  • Be very reluctant to link your credit card to any app.
  • Watch out for misspellings and other typos in the app’s description or write up.
  • Be wary of apps that ask for too much information, including permissions to access your contacts, social media profiles and location.

If you find yourself the victim of a fake app scam be sure to:

  1. Have your phone scanned for viruses and malware,
  2. Inform all your financial institutions,
  3. Immediately change your account passwords, and
  4. Report the scam online at: www.bbb.org/scamtracker.