App scams on the rise as mobile shopping increases

More than a third of shoppers this holiday weekend made purchases via apps, and hackers are now trying to take advantage of that.
More than a third of shoppers this holiday weekend made purchases via apps, and hackers are now trying to take advantage of that.

AUGUSTA, GA. (WJBF)- Shopping from your couch on your phone or tablet makes Christmas shopping easier, but if a deal on an app seems too good to be true, you may want to take a second look.

“Mobile malware is on the rise today,” said Jon Creekmore of the Cyber Discovery Group.

Mobile shopping hit record numbers this holiday weekend, and the Monday after Thanksgiving was even bigger. Cyber Monday 2016 was the largest yet.

“Which of course makes it a feeding frenzy time for cyber crime as well as just hackers,” Creekmore said.

He says there are two main things to be wary of when shopping via apps:the information you give out and apps masquerading as legitimate retailers or coupon sites that are really looking to steal your identity or credit card info.

“They’re looking to lie to you and create something that’s not there,” Creekmore said. “Or they’re looking to hide something or distract you from something that they’re
actually doing in the application.”

Apple’s marketplace has around two million apps, but you shouldn’t trust all of them.

“There are a lot of fake applications,”Creekmore said. “They’re pretty common every day on the marketplaces.”

But you can take precautions to protect yourself. Some of them are obvious.

“One thing that you can notice is grammatical errors a lot of the times in the description of the application,” he said.

You can also check out the company that produces the app on the marketplace to make sure the company is legitimate.

“Don’t shy away from using applications, but do your research,” Creekmore said. “Ensure that the application is somehow legitimate.”

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