The Nevada attorney general is warning Nevada’s consumers of counterfeit retail apps before the holiday shopping season.
Retail apps can help consumers looking to purchase items online or pick up an item in-store and can often contain access to exclusive sales or limited products.
However, Apple’s App Store and Google Play have witnessed a recent surge in counterfeit retail apps that impersonate well-known retailers such as Zappos, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Foot Locker, Dollar Tree, Payless ShoeSource and others.
Counterfeit apps can steal credit card or banking information and can access users’ social media accounts. Some fraudulent apps install malware onto users’ smartphones and can even lock a user’s phone and demand a fee to unlock the device.
"It's very confusing," said IT expert Curt Miller. "I wouldn't even know which one of these is the Dollar Tree app."
Miller, founder of Anexeon, has been in the tech business over a decade.
Consumers looking to avoid falling victim to this scam can take the following additional steps as well:
· Run a search for reviews of the app and who published the app. If the app has not yet been reviewed, that should serve as an indicator that the app was recently created. Few or bad reviews are also red flags.
· Be cautious of any misspelled words in the description of an app. Fake apps are often created quickly and may contain grammatical errors.
· Be wary of linking your credit card to any app. If the app turns out to be counterfeit, fraudsters can have easy access to your financial information.
· Monitor your credit card statements more frequently during the holidays. Fraudsters can obtain credit card information even if you have not shopped online.
Those who believe they have been victimized by this scam can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission here.