How to avoid app store scams

Although reviewed by Apple Process for apps on the app store, sometimes horrible scams creep in. What’s more, for the Google Play Store, the apps are not subject to human review before they are published. If you are having difficulty figure out how to avoid it App store hoaxes, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are some helpful guidelines you can follow to keep yourself safe.

Fraud applications come in a variety of forms. Some will Pretending to be popular and legitimate apps– Or even parodying the name of a feature in the OS itself – just to enter their hateful ads that might appear out of nowhere, steal your personal information, or download malware. Other tricks Offer simple service, Only to charge exorbitant subscription fees before allowing users to try the app themselves, and then fail to introduce it. No matter what form the scams take, the best protection is to avoid installing these apps completely. With that in mind, here are some of the main signs to watch.

Don’t trust a star rating on its own

Apple and Google feature prominently with an average star rating per app, to give you a quick and easy-to-understand idea of ​​how users view the app. An app with an average rating of 4.7 stars is probably more trustworthy than an app with an average rating of 1.7 stars, right?

Unfortunately, it is not so simple. Not every star rating comes with a written review, and it’s relatively easy for malicious actors to tamper with the system by creating (or purchasing) group reviews to tip the scales. An app with hundreds of bad reviews but tens of thousands of five-star reviews can seem like it’s quite popular, even though most of the people who actually use it hate it.

That’s what developer Kosta Eleftheriou found while searching for an app that had a 4.6-star rating. Eleftheriou found the vast majority of written reviews It got 1 star reviews. Looking only at those ratings that came with the accompanying reviews, the app’s rating has dropped to 1.6 stars, which is a huge difference. If the app was legitimately good like its 4.6-star rating, it would be reasonable to expect it at least Some Written comments are more positive, but the majority of negative comments tell a different story.

This often happens with popular apps that have basic features that can be easily cloned. “Most fraudsters go after high-traffic keywords and categories like background, weather, scanner, and VPN apps – to name just a few,” Eleftheriou says. Then they look at some common applications and reproduce their basic functions, focusing more on how to attract new users and get them to subscribe to the service, in the hope that after that they will forget the cancellation or not know how.

Eleftherio is currently suing Apple On the alleged excesses of its monopoly power.

Read reviews (not just a few)

Since the star ratings can be manipulated as disingenuous, it’s worth reading the reviews themselves. But if you think that means you can look at the first couple, here’s more bad news: It can be manipulated, too. Make a small cottage Seller review is available So that suspicious developers can buy fake reviews to boost the performance of their apps (or hurt a competitor’s performance), in order to get a higher ranking in the app stores.

A common trick for review manipulators is to use fake accounts to mark a particular fake review as “helpful”, making it appear higher in the review list. If you scroll to the review section of the app’s menu, the first few reviews you find can sometimes be artificially pushed to the top. Swipe up to see more of the list of fraud apps, and you might start seeing very different reviews.

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