What the Tech: Counterfeit Apps

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Downloader beware: fake apps are showing up in iTunes and the Google Play store that could steal your credit card information.

The apps were discovered by The New York Times which then notified Apple and Google.

The apps were placed into the app store by a company identified as “Footlocke”, a Chinese company. The apps have been removed from both app stores.

The apps appeared to be the real thing from retailers including Footlocker, Nike, Mizuno and Hermes.

Times reporters discovered that the apps would unleash a barrage of pop-up ads on smartphones and if the user had entered their credit card information it could have been compromised as well.

One analyst reports there has been an increase in counterfeit apps posing as ‘official’ retailing apps ahead of the Christmas shopping season.

Here’s what you should know before downloading apps from retailers:

● Check the name of the app developer. If you’re downloading an app from a smartphone, scroll down and look for “developer website”. Your in no danger by clicking on the link.
Check to see if the website is verified as the actual retailers’ website.

● Look for grammatical errors in the name of the apps or developer. In the case of the fake Footlocker app, it was from the company “Footlocke” which had over a dozen other retailer apps listed in the app store.

● Look to see when the app was last updated. Most official retailer apps are frequently updated. If an app hasn’t been updated for 2-5 years it’s likely fake.

● Be wary of apps that ask for your credit card information. It’s probably best to shop from a computer unless it is from a reputable company like Amazon, Zappos or Walmart.

● If you do download an app that frequently sends pop-up advertisements to your phone, it’s likely a fake or counterfeit app.

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