Think Before You Enter That Credit Card!
Online shopping is a popular way for people of all ages to get the things they need with a minimum of hassle.
There’s no driving to the store, searching to find the item, or dealing with pushy salespeople. You can log into a website and do your shopping from there, or you can download an app to your smartphone.
For example, maybe you have heavy bags of dog food delivered every month, or you might do all of your holiday shopping via the internet.
The Downside of Shopping Apps
Online shopping can be extremely convenient. However, people looking to scam others out of money have created fake shopping applications. This is something you need to be aware of before completing a digital transaction.
Once a scammer gets you to enter your credit card number and other sensitive information into a fake app, he or she now has access to your bank account and the ability to commit financial fraud.
Another common tactic for those creating fake apps is to get people to register using their Facebook account. This provides criminals with personal information about you, possibly leading to identity theft.
Let’s say that you have a membership to a popular wholesale discount store. While you love the cost savings of buying in bulk, the items are heavy for you to carry, and the store is a bit of a drive.
Home delivery sounds wonderful.
So you download the wholesaler’s app on your phone and start shopping. But when the items never arrive, even after you notice the charge on your credit card, you are likely the victim of a fake shopping app.
How to Protect Yourself from Fake App Scammers
It’s unfortunate that you even have to think about things like this, but the good news is you can do several things to protect yourself. Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission:
- Look carefully at the name of the app and its description. You’re likely to see misspelled words or grammar errors. That’s a clue something isn’t right.
- Go directly to the retailer’s website to see if it mentions anything about the app. If the app is legitimate, the company should promote it.
- Search for online reviews of the app before downloading it. A legitimate app should have many reviews with a variety of ratings and feedback: everything from positive to negative and mostly in between.
- Search online for the brand name along with the term “fake app” to uncover any reports about potential problems.
Follow these tips to stay safe from fake app scams. You don’t have to give up the convenience of shopping online if you incorporate these practical strategies.
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This information is provided for general consumer educational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice.