Despite Apple’s review process for App Store apps, sometimes horrible scams. Especially for Google’s Play Store, where apps aren’t subject to human review before they’re made. If you have a hard time figuring out how to avoid it app store scam, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are some helpful tips you can follow to protect yourself.
Scam apps come in a variety of forms. Some will pretending to be popular, legitimate apps–Or even fraud in the name of a form of the operating system itself-just to inject themselves with annoying ads that appear to be irrelevant, steal your own information, or download malware. Other scams offering a simple service, only to charge an exorbitant subscription fee before allowing users to try the app themselves, and then fail to deliver. No matter what form the scams take, the very best protection is to avoid installing all apps. With this in mind, here are some key signs to watch out for.
Don’t Trust The Star Rating on Themselves
Both Apple and Google display an average star rating for each app, to give you a quick, easy-to-understand idea of how users view an app. An app with an average rating of 4.7 stars is probably more reliable than an app with an average 1.7-star rating, right?
Look, it’s not that simple. Not all star ratings have a written review, and it’s easy for harmful actors to play the system by creating (or buying) mass ratings to level the scales. An app with hundreds of bad reviews but tens of thousands of 5-star ratings might seem like it’s even more popular, even if most people who actually use it hate it.
This is what developer Kosta Eleftheriou found while researching an app with a 4.6-star rating. Eleftheriou finds that most of the review writings has 1-star ratings. Just looking at the ratings that came with the reviews, the app’s rating dropped to 1.6 stars, a lot of difference. If an app is legitimately as good with a 4.6-star rating as it is shown, it is reasonable to expect at least others more positive written reviews, but most negative reviews tell a different story.
This always happens with popular apps that have basic, easily recognizable features. “Most scammer keep keywords and categories that get a lot of traffic like wallpaper, weather, scanners, and VPN apps – to name a few,” Eleftheriou said. “They immediately looked at some of the popular apps and cloned their core functionality, especially focusing on how to attract new users and get them to sign up for the service, hoping they would forget to cancel or don’t know how. ”
Now Eleftheriou is suing Apple of the alleged abuse of its monopoly power.
Read Reviews (and Not Just the First Few)
Since star ratings can be eroded to be decieving, it’s worth reading it yourself. But if you think this means you can watch the first couple, here’s even more bad news: That can be playable, too. A small cottage industry in there are sellers to review so that shadow shoppers can buy fake reviews to increase the performance of their app (or harm a competitor), to rank higher in app stores.
A common trick for review manipulators is to use dummy accounts to mark a specific fake review as “helpful,” which will show up higher on the list of reviews. If you scroll through the review section of an app’s list, the first few queues you see will gradually be artificially pushed higher. Swipe to see some more on the list of a scam app, and you can start seeing different reviews.