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Stay Safe this Holiday Season by Avoiding Fake Shopping Apps

fake shopping apps

The holidays are fast approaching and many will be filling their Christmas stockings the hassle-free way: online shopping. That is if we were to base it on the latest holiday shopping trends. What comes with the convenience, though, is a potential risk. Based on reports, there’s a surge of fake shopping apps as the holiday season is about to set in.

Fake shopping apps have flooded the App Store and Google Play store lately, hoping to eat off the abundant Christmas shopping pie. These fake apps are posing as legit brands and it’s easy for any unsuspecting buyer to be fooled.

Be a step ahead of cyber criminals before you unknowingly give away credit card information. Remember the traits of a phony retail app so you can protect yourself from fraud while shopping for gifts this Christmas through your smartphone.


Poor Reviews

When an app you’re about to download seems shady, trust your instincts and scour the internet for reviews. There’s a good chance someone else downloaded it already and may have said a thing or two about it. As a rule of thumb, never be the first one to try a new retail app.

Invasive Request for Permission

Besides attempting to steal credit card info, some fake shopping apps even ask for permission to access your contacts, location, photos, and social media profiles. Frankly, there is no point for a simple shopping app to access your images or contacts when buying stuff through it. If you absentmindedly agreed to such permission request, you could be endangering personal information or make others susceptible to fraud.

Uncharacteristic Typos

Go to the app’s page and take note of any uncharacteristic typos. They’re often dead giveaways that the mobile app may not be made by professional developers. You should also take a look at the app’s screenshots in the Android and Apple Store. When they seem low quality or noticeably fuzzy, you could be dealing with a cyber trap.

Suspicious Activities

Steer clear of shopping apps that show ridiculous amounts of ads or unusually priced items. There are also cases when they bombard you with too many pop-up forms or omit contact information/function entirely. Developers do follow stringent rules and those that don’t abide clearly have something up their sleeves.

What Should I Do If I Downloaded Fake Shopping Apps?

If you think you’ve just downloaded a sham, delete it ASAP. Report it to Google or Apple so you do your part in keeping the internet safe for online shoppers like yourself. To avoid these mobile menaces in the future, here are helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Exercise logic when downloading any mobile retail app.

    Esteemed brands invest a lot to create well-polished apps because low-quality apps can hurt their reputation. Besides avoiding crudely made applications, tread with caution when an app gets a lot of bad reviews, too. It must have something fundamentally wrong about it for people to go out of their way and complain.

  • Make sure the developer is associated with the brand itself.

    It will require extra research on your part to verify a developer’s affiliation with a brand but to do so is in your best interest. When your search proves futile, check the developer’s page in the store and see if they’ve made a number of reputable apps already.

  • Visit a brand’s site to know their official shopping app.

    To be sure that you’re downloading a brand’s official shopping app, the best way is to check their website. They’ll often have a banner somewhere on the homepage to direct you where to download the app. That, or they’ll advertise their mobile portal in some conspicuous fashion.


This holiday season, don’t leave your privacy and sensitive information to chance. When you’re planning to do your Christmas shopping on your smartphone, keep these tips in mind so you won’t be setting yourself up for fraud.