There are some good deals to be had on Black Friday and beyond. Retailers have already started advertising those deals, but scammers are also gearing up to take advantage. Scammers have even set up look-a-like websites and fake apps in order to get your credit card information. If you are considering buying from a website that is not from a traditional retailer, make sure to check it out first. Rampant misspellings, poor grammar, vague return policies and unrealistic prices are a good indicator that the website you’re ordering from is not legitimate. In its holiday scam tips, the Better Business Bureau recommends only using your credit card on a secure website with “https” in the web address.

Fake retail apps are on the rise too according to an article by the New York Post.
Some fake apps mimic the real thing while others are created for stores that don’t have one. To protect yourself, make sure the retailer that the app claims to be associated with actually offers an app. Also check out reviews, and see how long the app has been available.

Here are a few red flags to consider before downloading:

  • Brand name is spelled slightly incorrectly
  • No reviews attached to the app
  • Zero-star reviews attached to the app
  • No customer support information

Hundreds of rogue apps, most of which came from developers in China, have managed to slip through Apple’s review process.

If reviews are bad and it is brand new–big red flag. Do not download, install or run that app!

Like most everything else, being patient and doing a little research can save you a lot of money. As The New York Times reveals in a recent article, “The counterfeiters have masqueraded as retail chains like Dollar Tree and Foot Locker, big department stores like Dillard’s and Nordstrom, online product bazaars like and Polyvore, and luxury-goods makers like Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo.”

Although Apple is actively policing these submissions, it’s clearly impossible to catch every offender and the risks for consumers are many. Aside from the general frustration of a dud download, there are major security issues. If one of these apps requests your credit card information, you are now vulnerable to a slew of security problems. If one of these developers requests that you sign in with your Facebook credentials, you are now vulnerable to a slew of privacy problems.

Before you download any app, do a quick Google search to ensure its legitimate (that is to say, the app has been reviewed online on reputable websites).


Source: Beware, iPhone Users: Fake Retail Apps Are Surging Before Holidays – The New York Times