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Beware Counterfeit Branded Apps Ahead of Holiday Shopping Season

Is it too good to be true?
November 7, 2016

With the holiday shopping almost in full swing, the number of fake retail and product apps on the App Store continues to grow, according to The New York Times.

It's a fake

It's a fake

Credit: The New York Times

With Black Friday just 2 1/2 weeks away, some of the most popular retail chains and products are being targeted by counterfeiters. These include companies like Foot Locker, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, and Polyvore, and luxury-goods makers like Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior, and Salvatore Ferragamo.

How do you know an app is a fake? The report notes:

Many of the fake retail apps have red flags signaling that they are not real, such as nonsensical menus written in butchered English, no reviews and no history of previous versions.

Apple continues to delete counterfeit apps. Unfortunately, some do get approved. The reason? Cupertino is much more focused on blocking malicious software and does not routinely examine apps to see if they are “legitimately associated with the brand names listed on them.”

As Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr explains:

We strive to offer customers the best experience possible, and we take their security very seriously. 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.

Our advice: If you’re concerned that a shopping app is fake, go back to the real company’s official website and see if you can find an app link. If you cannot, it’s likely the app is fake.