Apple cleans house, removes hundreds of fake shopping apps from App Store
The iOS App Store has seen a deluge of fake shopping apps branding themselves with designer names in hopes of trapping gullible buyers but now Apple is stepping in to remove the counterfeit apps, which are sneaking in by changing the content after approval or by resubmitting under different names and credentials after being outed as fraudulent.
Following reports of apps using reputable companies’ names to shill their fake wares in the App Store surfaced in the New York Times and New York Post, Apple removed hundreds of offenders. But hucksters keep coming back: The Times found that an app called Overstock Inc. was trying to convince shoppers that it was Overstock.com by selling clothes and Ugg boots. Apple killed the app, only to see it return the next day, because sketchy developers are finding new ways to bypass the company’s traditionally tough app review process.
But the company is doing its best to crack down on developers who use existing brands’ names to submit fake apps, an Apple spokesperson told the Times.
“We strive to offer customers the best experience possible, and we take their security very seriously,” said Apple’s Tom Neumayr. ”We’ve set up ways for customers and developers to flag fraudulent or suspicious apps, which we promptly investigate to ensure the App Store is safe and secure. We’ve removed these offending apps and will continue to be vigilant about looking for apps that might put our users at risk.”
So what’s the harm of installing a fake app? If you try to buy a product, at best you’ll be frustrated by app crashes or annoying pop-up ads. At worst, you’ll hand over your credit card info to a company and never receive the item you ordered.
How can you tell if a retail app is legitimate? Have a look at how many reviews it has. How many previous versions have been released? Does the language sound like it was written by an adult professional with a good grasp of English? If any of the above seem suspect, go to the store’s website and see if you can find an App Store link directly from the source.
IDG News Service