Fraud and scams have gone mobile and are targeting victims like never before, especially with the rise of social media marketing and in-app purchases.
As 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, 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 you need to consider. A few developers pay for app installs (also known as install fraud) when they attempt to increase their client’s app download ranking on Google Play or Apple’s App Store. However, when an installation is illegitimate, users end up with unnecessary apps on their device, which can cause slowdowns and drain batteries.
On top of that, if developers buy 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 to choose 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 to diversify your marketing channels.
Fraud by robot
Hackers create bots that trick 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 for expensive monthly fees without your knowledge. In 2014, Apple reported in its online guide for developers that up to a third of new apps submitted for approval were actually bots designed to do fraudulent things like enter 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 spams everyone on your contact list without your knowledge. Additionally, spammers may have unique apps installed on users’ devices that could allow them to send spam while hiding their identity as an individual or business.
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 control of 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 protect your information from hackers, make sure all apps are downloaded from legitimate sources like Google Play.
Invasion of privacy
Confidentiality 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 information somehow gets into unauthorized hands, you could end up with a seriously compromised credit score.
Therefore, keep an eye out for apps that ask you for sensitive data without clarifying their intentions. Also, check if your mobile platform has built-in privacy settings; ask yourself if you are comfortable sharing certain types of data (location information, contact lists) with all apps or only those from certain important apps.
While mobile app fraud is constantly evolving, these four types of scams pose an immediate threat that mobile app development companies should be aware of. If you are looking to launch your own app or if you have already launched one, it is essential to watch out for these scams so that your hard work is not affected by the malicious activities of scammers.