With holiday shopping underway and Cyber Monday here, thousands of people will be buying things off of their smartphones- but they may be at risk! Scammers interested in stealing credit card information are especially active this time of year. Many create knock off shopping apps that mimic the look and appearance of the apps from real brands. While I can’t give names of apps to avoid (new ones are being made and taken down each day), I can give you some tricks to stay safe while you “mobile shop” this holiday season.
First thing you should do when downloading a new app is check the app’s publisher. Fake apps may look like the brand you know and trust, but only the real app will have the correct name displayed as the publisher. This information can easily be found in the app store under the title of the app. The publisher will be in a lighter grey font. You want the publisher to list an actual company name like”Walmart” and not a derivative of that like “Walmart Inc.” or a random person’s name.
Once you have verified a publisher, check the number of reviews and stars the shopping app has received. This is important because the publisher name alone may not be enough to guarantee safety. For example, the Macy’s app’s publisher is “Macys Inc.” however the app has 5 stars with 493 reviews, so while the name could be seen as suspicious, it has enough credibility from users to be ruled as safe to use.
If you want the highest level of safety, change the way you navigate to the individual app. The safest way to download an app is to find it on a company’s website. Most brands will have a small popup or link that will guide you to download the correct app, this way you can be 100% sure that your credit card information is safe and that your gifts will actually show up for the holidays!
Have you ever been scammed by a shopping app? Have any other safe shopping tips? Let me know in the comments below!