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Fake apps pretending to be trusted brands

Priority Level: 
Moderate
25 September 2018

What's happened?

Take a few minutes to check out a new app before you download it.

There have been recent media reports of fake apps appearing in the Google Play store earlier this year.

The reported fake apps impersonated trusted bank brands. However, scammers will frequently set up fake apps across a range of well-known goods and services to collect large amounts of bank account, credit card or log-in details.

Does it affect me?

If you use or purchase mobile apps from app stores, you should be on the lookout for apps that impersonate trusted brands.

While Apple’s App Store or Google Play for Android are recommended official stores to install apps, fake, impersonating or malicious apps can still make their way onto any app store.

How do I stay safe?

Before downloading a new app, take a few minutes to do your online research:

  • What do reviews from others say about the name of the app or its developer?
  • If you are not sure if an app is legitimate, first check the official website and contact details of the business the app claims to be from.
  • If it looks like a fake app, let the legitimate business know.

You should also:

  • Use your device’s automatic update feature to install new applications and operating system updates as soon as they are available.
  • Read the fine print about how an app will protect your personal data—some apps collect information such as your location, contacts, and other sensitive details like credentials. At the end of the day, if you are not comfortable with how your data is protected, don’t use the app!

More information

Learn more tips about downloading and installing online apps safely.

Stay Smart Online also has information on mobiles and tablets and protecting yourself from malware.