Beware: Fake retail apps hitting app stores on Google, Apple

(NEWS10) — Shopping online especially through your phone can be great. If you’re a loyal customer, you get deep discounts access to exclusive sales and it’s convenient. However, shoppers beware: There is a surge in fake apps hitting the app stores both on Google and Apple.

If you’re like Kyle Giglio, you do most of your holiday shopping from the palm of your hand.

“[It’s] very convenient to have a mobile app when you’re out shopping,” Giglio said.

He has got it down to a science.

“If I’m going to a store and then I see something, I go to my phone and say, ‘Can I find it cheaper on eBay or Amazon?’” Giglio explained.

Before you start downloading an app, watch out for the copy cats launched by third parties to collect your information

“Coming into holiday, we have seen hundreds of them getting launched all the time,” Chris Mason from Branding Brand said.

Mason’s company Branding Brand creates apps for some major retailers like Sephora, American Eagle, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and hundreds of other trusted brands.

Mason has noticed the app market, both on the Google Play and the App Store, surge with dozens of dupes made to look like they’re from a real retailer. Names like Dillard’s, Payless, Big Lots and Pandora are some that were hijacked.

“If you download the Dillard’s app, it looks like its Dillard’s, [but it’s] actually someone trying to dupe consumers into downloading their app,” Mason said.

Apple has already removed some of these fake apps, but when we searched, we found more pop up like Just Fab and Shoe Dazzle.

“[There are] fake apps for Shoe Dazzle and Just Fab,” Mason said. “Just Fab doesn’t have an app. Someone is positioning themselves as the app for that retailer.”

When you type in shopping in the app store, hundreds of apps pop up. To make sure you’re downloading something put out by a company you trust, just go to their website and they’ll probably have a link to download their official app.

“Look at the reviews for the app,” Mason advised. “If there are no reviews or reviews are bad, then that’s a red flag.”

So before you fill up that digital shopping cart like Giglio, beware, because even he didn’t know about the risk until he was told.

“You’re putting your device at risk,” Mason said. “We don’t know what they’re for. They could be trying to steal consumer information, they could be installing malware on your device.”

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