Buyers beware of fake apps during holiday shopping season

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The holiday shopping season is just around the corner and many will be using their smartphones to find the best deals at their favorite stores.

This year, the National Retail Federation is projecting between a 7 to 10 percent increase in online sales during the holidays to as much as $117 billion.

But Supergeeks CEO Tim Caminos says it also comes at a price.

“Regardless, if it’s a mobile device or your computer, you need to shop smartly and safely,” he said, “an just because there’s an app — whether it’s in the Apple store or on the Android market, ensure that it’s a real application.”

Tech experts say the holiday season usually brings with it an increase in fake apps on iPhones and Android phones. The apps often impersonate large retailers.

So how do you spot a fake one? Look for grammatical and spelling errors, and also look at the reviews and see what others are saying.

A good way to safely connect to an app is by going directly to the store’s website. If there’s a direct link to its app, it’s legitimate.

Using a fake one opens up the possibility of fraud and identity theft. “If you allow the app to access other programs on your phone,” Caminos said, “you’d be giving up personal, identifiable information — social platforms you use, banking information — and you’ll be letting it read all of your contacts.”

If you think you’ve used a fake app, delete it immediately, and report it so it can be removed. Plus watch your credit card and bank statements for any suspicious activity.

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

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