If you think you’re pressing on a company’s official app to shop, you may want to think twice.
Several big names have been spoofed in the Apple app store, despite the company’s attempt to ensure only the real thing gets through. If you end up shopping from one of these phoneys, you may find your credit card information and money stolen and no items showing up at your door this Christmas.
Companies that have been targeted for fakes include Dollar Tree, Nordstrom, Zappos.com, Dillard’s, Foot Locker, Polyvore, Christian Dior and Ferragamo.
Most of the developers of these spoof apps appear to be from China, looking to take advantage of people’s desire to shop from their phones and the rush of the upcoming holiday season. And with Black Friday coming up, it’s a perfect time for developers to orchestrate a con, but a horrible time for Apple as they attempt to process holiday shopping.
Some of these apps are harmless. They won’t steal your information, but they will barrage your phone with a bunch of junk and ads that you’ll have to painstakingly remove.
Others will take your credit card information, personal details, or in some instances, even hack your phone. If those behind the apps truly have a malicious intent, they can find their way into your phone and lock it until you pay a ransom.
Due to the volume of apps submitted, Apple cannot regulate every single one of them coming in. Therefore, it is important that companies and consumers are aware of which apps are spoofed.
Apple spokesman, Tom Neumayr, said of the issue:
“We strive to offer customers the best experience possible, and we take their security very seriously. We’ve set up ways for customers and developers to flag fraudulent or suspicious apps, which we promptly investigate to ensure the App Store is safe and secure. We’ve removed these offending apps and will continue to be vigilant about looking for apps that might put our users at risk.”
Those who are most at risk are retailers who do not offer an official app. Therefore, customers only see the fake apps and think they are shopping for the real deal.
In order to protect yourself this holiday season, only shop from an app directly from the retailer’s site or directly on the retailer’s website itself.