Tips On Avoiding Fake Apps During The Holidays
Holiday shopping has been building for a month or so, and now it is fully underway. This year, more people are tapping the screens of their smart phones to help them get the job done. But buyers beware! Avoiding fake apps is more crucial than ever. There are more and more fake apps appearing across the board that are posing as stores and legit businesses. The danger here is that the people who make these fake apps could use them to steal money and personal information from those who download and use them.
“You have ID theft, personal information being leaked, you have credit card theft where your number can be used once you’ve given it out and even counterfeit items so if the sale does go through, you may get an item that is not legitimate,” Andrew Blaich, a researcher at Lookout security firm, told ABC News.
Also, some apps ask for permission to access other information on a phone such as for the ability to track the users. Protecting your private information from theft is every bit as critical as protecting your home or auto. Snyder Insurance & Financial Services look at some crucial elements to keep in mind to help with protecting your private information and to help you with avoiding fake apps as you do your shopping this holiday season.
Avoiding Fake Apps Topic #1: Identity Theft
Identity theft comes in many forms, and with the coming of the digital age a new form of theft emerged. Today, an ID thief can get your information hundreds of ways, making avoiding fake apps more important than ever. The goal of most of the scams used in getting personal information is to be able to access your credit card or bank account information. From there, either stealing money from the accounts or using your information to open lines of credit are the two most common types of theft.
It is important to stay vigilant about protecting your information and your money, especially when you are shopping online. Wherever you put your information, you need to consider the risk that someone could be getting access to that information without you knowing it. Below are just some of the deceptions that criminals use to steal your identity.
Avoiding Fake Apps Topic #2: The Internet
Online phishing, the act of getting personal information that is then used to get access to your accounts and funds, has become very popular. ID theft of this type can occur when you receive emails from people who pose as a legitimate business asking you to update your information, re-enter payment information, or fill out forms and applications. Some will even directly ask you to send them a check to cover memberships or other fees. Protecting your private information is important and you can do this by always contacting the business directly and ask about any information they need or updates that might be required of you.
Avoiding Fake Apps Topic #3: Records
ID thieves have gotten more and more bold as time passes. Many will try to hack your records through a computer, hack company data bases, steal files and folders, and use “trojans” and viruses to steal information off your computers.
Dumpster diving, which is sifting through trash, is another way they can gain access to your records or mail. Protecting your private information includes the importance of taking steps to guard information on your computer. Avoiding fake apps can help a lot with this, because it cuts off a major point of access that thieves use to get access to your information and records. Also, negating or destroying information on papers and files that are being thrown out is critical. Investing in a quality shredding machine is a great way to do this.
Avoiding Fake Apps Topic #4: Mail
ID thieves may stick to a more old fashioned approach of trash sifting, but they can also easily steal your mail. This can be a big deal because of the information they can get their hands on; including bank and credit card statements, bills and payment receipts, online purchase orders, credit card offers, checks, advertisements form popular stores you shop at, tax information and records, and more.
They will even steal the mail you leave for the postman if your mailbox isn’t secure, giving them access to checks and every piece of payment information they need to hack your accounts and steal your identity. They may fill out a change of address form in your name and send it back so they receive your mail.
Avoiding Fake Apps Topic #5: ATMs
ID thieves can capture your ATM Card information using a technique called skimming. You likely hear about these scams quite often. Aside from ATMs, other card swipe spots are popular targets for these thieves. Gas station pumps and store POS kiosks are also popular places where skimming can happen. They get your information by attaching a data storage device to an ATM machine and get your information when you swipe your card.
One way of protecting your private information from skimming is to go to an absolutely trusted source, like your regularly visited branch of your bank. Banks are always on the lookout for skimming devices on their ATMs.
Avoiding Fake Apps Topic #6: Direct Theft
ID thieves may steal your wallet, purse, or financial information from your house. They will then use your credit cards, ATM cards, checks and any personal information they find for their own financial gain. If your phone is lost for any duration of time, be mindful of using it if you find it again without knowing if someone else had their hands on it.
Avoiding fake apps and protecting your private information means being smart and checking things closely to make sure nothing has been added to your phone without your knowledge. Having a password to access the use of your phone, while not infallible when it comes to the craftiest of hackers, can nevertheless prevent opportunistic thieves who grab your phone because the opportunity has presented itself.
Avoiding Fake Apps Topic #7: Checking Your Apps
Fake apps are becoming a big deal in terms of identity theft. With the advancement of the digital age and the almost constant use of smart phones and other mobile devices, vigilance is key. Many are now recognizing the threat and are taking measures to protect the security of their apps and sites through trusted programs and apps.
Google Play automatically scans for potentially malicious apps as well as spammy accounts before they are published on the Google Play Store. Others are following suite and taking additional steps to protect customers by making it hard for scam apps to get onto the virtual stores and by offering customer assistance to those who fall victim to these app scams.
Content Policy and Developer Distribution Agreement, which prevents things like apps that are impersonating legitimate companies or deceptive behavior, are available. The introduction of a proactive app review process to catch policy offenders and flag apps for additional review is also helping customers have an easier time avoiding fake apps.
But even with all the new focus and improved security, protecting your private information is ultimately your responsibility. With a little common sense and a watchful eye, you can be sure to find and use apps that help rather than harm you, your identity and your hard earned money.
Avoiding Fake Apps Topic #8: Actionable Tips
Despite the renewed focus on fake apps and the steps being taken to avoid them and keep them away from consumers, some still do slip by. So here are some tips to protect yourself:
To find a legitimate app, go to the site itself and search the site for the links to their apps. Going through the actual site ensures you’re getting the real app and not picking a fake app off the app store page.
Check the publisher, which is listed under the app’s name. If they only have this one app or the others listed do not look legitimate, that is a red flag. Most legit business apps are made by web experts who make apps for multiple retailers, not just one.
Finally, read the reviews, and take what they say into account but don’t rely on them exclusively. Fake app makers will use fake reviews to give themselves better rankings. A legit app will have a mix of reviews from high to low to mid range.
Snyder Insurance & Financial Services Care
There is a lot to you can do to improve your chances of avoiding fake apps. That is a very good thing, especially with one of the busiest shopping seasons now upon us! It is a lot to consider when you are trying to keep up with the busy life you live, and protecting your private information needs to stay alert at all times. These tips and ideas will help you, but it will ultimately come down to using common sense and being smart with the apps and platforms you use and the information you put out there for others to find and use.
And when it comes to protecting your family, home or business, we at Snyder Insurance hope you think of us when you’re ready to explore or expand your insurance options. We are a fully independent insurance agency that has proudly served Chicago and Illinois for over 30 years.
Call (630) 960-4848 or use our Contact Page to learn why we’re one of the top-rated insurers in the state. Tell us how we can help you!
Happy Holidays To Your Family From Ours!