Posted: 2/10/2017

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Shopping on your mobile device is a convenient way to make a purchase. In this day and age there’s an app for almost anything. When browsing for deals and shopping on your cell phone or tablet, Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) warns you to beware of fake apps that are setup to look real but are really only out to rob you.

cell phone

Shopping on your mobile device is a convenient way to make a purchase. In this day and age there’s an app for almost anything. When browsing for deals and shopping on your cell phone or tablet, Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) warns you to beware of fake apps that are setup to look real but are really only out to rob you.

Fake apps can look like the real deal. They use names similar to familiar brands and usually promise attractive deals or features to lure consumers in. But their real goal is to steal your financial and personal information, not to deliver that great advertised deal. Some of these phony apps install malware or ransomware on your device, which enables crooks to prevent you from using it until you pay them to unlock it.

So how do you avoid fake apps? Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Obtain the app from the retailer’s website. If they have an app, it is usually advertised on their website and will direct you to the app store to obtain it.
  • Check to see if the retailer has reported a fake app. Use your web search and type in the brand name and “fake app” or “scam” to find out if the site has been spoofed.
  • Read the reviews. You can often find out if there are problems with a particular application if you check the reviews. Don’t just pay attention to the top ones that show up. Select all and look at the most recent updates for information on whether the app is problematic or not.
  • Look carefully at the spelling. If the words in the description are misspelled or if there is a slight variation to the brand name, these are red flags that may warn you that these apps are not legit.

Take BCA with you while you’re on the go. Our website is compatible with mobile devices so when you’re on the move you can check on a business, read consumer reviews, and even file a complaint. BCA offers helpful tips for online shopping and information on mobile devices.

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About Business Consumer Alliance

Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.

Tags: tips, scams, cell phone, security risk

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What is this program?

The Consumer Ally program is free for consumers to join. At BCA, we feel it's very important to educate the public on trends like scams, new laws and providing helpful tips to empower the public in making wise purchasing decisions. This program is an elite community of consumers who share our vision for a safe marketplace. We can't be everywhere at once so we depend on feedback from the public to help our efforts.

  • Free subscription to our e-newsletter
  • Free scam alerts
  • Eligible to win random prizes. We like to run contests exclusively for Consumer Ally members