You would expect the apps that you purchase from official marketplaces to be legitimate and non-malicious. But that’s not always the case – By Communications Authority of Kenya.
A new study by a security research firm reveals that thousands of apps in top app stores like Google Play are running a highly sophisticated and potentially harmful advertising fraud.
By downloading an app from some unknown developer, you’re essentially giving them free reign to do whatever they want with your phone.
The most common form of these applications are fake loan apps. They request for deposits via short codes promising customers that they will get instant loans. They also charge you a certain amount of money to ‘register’. Once you apply for the loan, you are asked to pay some more money to get the loan.
These fraudulent mobile loans applications have the following characteristics among others:
Request for registration fee for the service.
Scammers are never concerned with how the borrower will repay the loan.They never bother about credit scores or collateral while claiming to give out loans.
Paying fees for borrowing a loan can be a normal thing with legitimate lenders but its always deducted from the loan acquired. Scammers ask for fees before giving out loans.
Do not have registered physical addresses and contacts. Their businesses are not registered with county or national governments.
Have fake or non-existent telephone numbers, websites and addresses. They don’t have their own registered Paybill numbers. .Their phone numbers are ever offline.
Might mimic mobile applications for financial institutions such as banks.
Extend these fraud schemes to social media sites.
Do not have customer care helplines or mechanisms.
You can protect yourself from these scams by doing the following;
Do not disclose personal details such as PIN, bank accounts details, usernames and passwords.
Do not install applications from the Internet you are not sure of their source. This is not limited to fraudulent mobile loans applications only.
To be wary of “too good to be true” applications on the Internet.
Report such fraudulent apps to the respective online stores.
Carry out checks by reading the applications reviews on the respective online stores.
Report cases of fraud to the Police for investigation.