What The Tech? Creepy shopping apps - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

What The Tech? Creepy shopping apps

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Before shopping online many of us shop in the App Stores. Retail apps make it easy to shop and save money during the holidays and shoppers download them in droves. Among all of those free apps are sure to be some fakes that could steal information or install a malicious program on your phone.

Last November hundreds of counterfeit apps were discovered in both Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store. The fake retail apps looked legitimate right down to the logo and branding. Upon further inspection though apps for New Balance, Nike, Foot Locker and Hermes' were fakes, capable of unleashing pop-up ads and potentially gaining access to any information stored on the phone.

Apple and Google removed the apps from stores but not before people downloaded and installed them on their phones. We suspect hackers will try to use the same tactic during this year's holiday season.

Here are some things to look for before downloading and installing a free retail or couponing app:

  • Where did you hear about it? If it was sent to you in an e-mail or through a link from someone it needs closer examination.
  • Does the app have the correct branding and logo? Some of the fake apps last November contained spelling errors. A fake Footlocker app was actually for "Footlocke".
  • How many reviews and ratings does it have? A legitimate app for a reputable company should have thousands of reviews and ratings.
  • Check the apps 'developer website' listed in the app store. This can be found near the bottom of the installation and information description. It should take you directly to the retailers website.

While counterfeit apps have been known to slip past Apple and Google's app review process it is always best to download apps only from those sites/stores. iOS devices can only install apps from the Apple App Store unless the phone has been 'jailbroken'. Android phones though are capable of downloading apps from other places online. 

Perhaps more than anything else this holiday, we should just be aware that bad guys are working around the clock trying to trick you out of your money or information.

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