December 23, 2020

The 12 Days of Holiday Fraud – Day 7: Fake Apps

The winter holidays are upon us and scams that leverage the holiday season to target you are in full effect right now.

Today, we present Day 7 of The 12 Days of Holiday Fraud - our version of the holiday classic The 12 Days of Christmas. We’re warning about the top 12 scams we see leading up to the holidays and how to avoid falling victim to fraudsters.

“On the seventh day of the holidays, my scammer targeted me with . . .”

DAY 7: Fake Apps

A major benefit of the internet is the ability to do all your holiday shopping without ever having to leave your house. If you’re someone who dreads crowded parking lots and standing in long lines at stores, you may already be a veteran of online shopping. Due to COVID-19, more people are doing their holiday shopping from their phones and laptops for the first time.

Shopping may be done on websites, but many times “there’s an app for that.”

Just as it’s important to stay off spoofed websites, its crucial you avoid downloading fake mobile apps.

Fake mobile apps look like the legitimate apps they are mimicking to entice people into downloading them. Cybercriminals can do a variety of bad things with a fake app, from installing malware on a victim’s phone to tricking someone into entering their credit card info while buying non-existent products.

Don’t download apps via links you receive in an email or from an unfamiliar website you may be directed to. The Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store are the best places to download apps, but unfortunately fake and malicious apps do exist there.


Ways you can recognize a fake app:

  • Check the download count. For example, the legitimate Facebook app has more than five billion downloads. If you see a Facebook app that has just a few thousand, then you have spotted a fake one.
  • Check out the app’s rating and reviews. A fake app will likely also have fake “positive” reviews, but there also might be feedback from people who have downloaded the app and discovered it was bogus. An app with a poor rating is likely something you don’t want to download – real or not.
  • Just like some fake emails, fake apps often have misspelled words and poor grammar in their description.
  • If you ever download a fake app, you can’t just click on it and select “Uninstall.” While that will remove the actual app, the malicious parts of the app might be left behind and will continue to run and operate. To fully remove a bad app, go to Settings > Apps > Uninstall.

Stay tuned for 12 Days of Holiday Fraud – Day 8.

Check out Day 1: Secret Sister Gift Exchange.

Check out Day 2: Requests for Charitable Gifts.

Check out Day 3: Secret Santa Shopper.

Check out Day 4: Fake Holiday Marketplaces.

Check out Day 5: Package Delivery.

Check out Day 6: Gift Cards.

By clicking on any of the links above, you acknowledge that they are solely for your convenience, and do not necessarily imply any affiliations, sponsorships, endorsements or representations whatsoever by us regarding third-party websites. We are not responsible for the content, availability or privacy policies of these sites, and shall not be responsible or liable for any information, opinions, advice, products or services available on or through them.

© 2020 Buckingham Strategic Wealth®

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