Latest reports revealed that fake retail apps are now populating both the Android and iOS devices to take advantage of hapless holiday shoppers. Naturally, these can be avoided, but the question is how?
There are several ways to spot a fake shopping app but, to effectively carry out an evaluation of your own; you need to be aware of some several information first.
Fake Apps For Scamming
Fake holiday apps often try to clone popular brands. Those that have been duplicated so far include Footlocker, the Dollar Tree and Nordstrom. While some fraudulent app will only bombard users with ads, there are those that will include mechanisms to obtain your credit card information, make you purchase non-existent goods or even hack your mobile device.
Another key variable in this shady online world is that the bulk of clones tend to come from China. There is just so much talent there that Chinese-made fake apps could literally imitate a popular brand's website from its logo to its products, down to the very last detail.
These two variables should allow your critical insights to effectively apply some strategies to avoid falling prey to scammers when shopping online.
Start In The Official Website
The best way to download authentic and legitimate apps is to go directly to the website of the brand you are interested in. Usually this type of website includes app download links to both Android and iOS app market. If the app is not a dedicated e-commerce platform, there is usually a recommended third-party app that sells or distribute their products online.
Look For Errors
Now since numerous fake apps are developed by Chinese scammers, they often include errors such as those involving spelling and grammar. You can also look out for strange characters and seemingly innocent typos designed to trick users. For example, Footlocker has a doppelganger called Footlocke Sports Co.
Evaluate The App Developer
Another way to check if an app is legitimate is by taking a look at the developer. This is the name of the company that publishes an app and is found under the app name at Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Both these platforms also provide links to the other apps that a publisher has developed. Browsing through these products could reveal discrepancies and red flags.
Check Out App Reviews
Users diligence will also pay off. Take time to read app reviews and ask yourself key questions. Does an app have more positive or negative feedbacks? Does it have 10 or 10,000 reviews? These details are easily accessible within the app's Google Play or App Store page.
The quality of posted reviews also matter because some developers are able to leave their own positive feedbacks to prop up their apps.
To those wondering whether Google and Apple are taking the necessary steps to weed out fakes to make online shopping safe, these companies are working hard to regulate their respective app marketplaces. But the sheer number of fake apps being produced and submitted everyday makes it difficult to root them all in one sweep.