Fraud and scams have gone mobile, and they’re targeting victims like never before, especially with the rise of social media marketing and in-app purchasing.
Just like with any other type of fraud, it can be hard to spot if you don’t know what to look for, so we’ve put together this list of the most common types of mobile app fraud, complete with advice from expert Faisal Abidi on how to avoid becoming the next victim of scammers.
Need to create an app for your business? Then this is something that you should take into account. A few developers pay for app installs (also known as installs fraud) when they try to increase their client’s app’s download rankings on Google Play or Apple’s App Store. However, when an install is illegitimate, users end up with useless apps on their device, which can cause slowdowns and drain batteries.
In addition to this, if developers purchase too many installs at once, it can also lead to a review bomb—an influx of negative reviews when users realize they don’t like their new app.
The best way to avoid install fraud is by choosing an app marketing company that uses a combination of effective strategies instead of just focusing on downloads. You should look for agencies that advertise using video ads, social media posts, and traditional ads in order to diversify your marketing channels.
Hackers create bots that lure unsuspecting users into downloading what looks like a great mobile app. But when you download and open it, it leads to spam messages or automatically enrolls you in expensive monthly charges without your knowledge. In 2014, Apple reported in its online guide for developers that as many as one-third of new apps submitted for approval were actually bots designed to do fraudulent things like grab personal information or phish for banking logins. So, be careful!
An example of location spoofing is when an app gains permissions to track your location, but also accesses your contacts and sends spam texts to everyone on your contact list without your knowledge. In addition, spammers might have unique apps installed on user devices that could allow them to send spam while hiding their identity as an individual or company.
Malware is malicious software that can infiltrate your smartphone and steal information from your device. For example, if you were to download an app infected with malware, an attacker could take over your phone by obtaining your username and password. Once they have access to your account, they can easily see everything, from photos on Facebook to call logs on WhatsApp. To keep your information safe from hackers, be sure that all apps are downloaded from legitimate sources like Google Play.
Privacy is essential, especially when it comes to financial information. If an app collects your personal information without asking permission, it could be grounds for legal action. And if that info somehow falls into unauthorized hands, you could end up with a seriously compromised credit score.
Therefore, keep an eye out for apps that request sensitive data from you without making their intentions clear. Additionally, check to see whether your mobile platform has any privacy settings built in; ask yourself whether you’re comfortable sharing certain types of data (location info, contacts lists) with all apps or just those from certain important ones.
While mobile app fraud is always evolving, these four types of scams are an immediate threat that mobile app development companies should be aware of. If you’re looking to launch your own app or if you’ve already launched one, it’s critical to watch out for these frauds so that your hard work is not affected by the malicious activities of fraudsters.