For many of us it is the most wonderful time of the year, a time to relish in our blessings and celebrate with friends and family. But the holiday season is also the time of the year for scammers and phishers alike to target holiday shoppers. The Better Business Bureau has recently reported hundreds of incidents of fraudulent smart holiday shopping apps.
Steve Bernas, CEO and President of the BBB serving Chicago, said fraudulent apps pose a serious risk when consumers enter credit card information or sign in using Facebook credentials because it can contain malware that can steal personal information.
Chances are that if you find typos in the description or notice that the app has little to no reviews you are looking at a fake smartphone app. These apps are designed to target and rip off shoppers this holiday season.
Sadly, Christmas isn’t the only time of year that scammers target innocent shoppers; Valentine’s day, the national day of love has also been targeted in the past. Your BBB has investigated these scams and warns that “E-cards, wallpapers, “Love Calculators” and relationship apps can come at a hefty price, carrying viruses and malware aimed to steal your personal information. Always use antivirus software and malware protection and avoid opening links from unknown individuals.”
Here are some tips from your BBB to help you avoid fake apps this holiday season:
-Be very cautious when deciding which app you want to download. Read the reviews as well as the description to look for anything suspicious or out of place.
-Look for how many times the app has been updated, major apps can have 40-50 updates where as a fake app can disappear as fast as Santa up a chimney.
-Don’t click links in any email that ask to download a new app. Bad guys will impersonate brand names via phishing emails.
– Do your research, most legitimate retailers will have social media sites with an abundance of reviews. Also, be sure to go to the website of the supposed retailer to get a legitimate link to their app from the app store.
-If you do your research and decide to make a purchase, as a failsafe be sure to use a credit card that has added fraud protection.
These days technology is everywhere and most can agree it is a necessary evil. The convenience of shopping from your smartphone is priceless and consumers are taking advantage. This year Walmart reported that over 70% of its Black Friday traffic came from a mobile device. Mobile devices are becoming the holiday shopping method of choice, so embrace the ever changing world of technology but remember to be weary of scammers looking to ruin your holiday.
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville.