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How to Spot a Fake App in 3 Minutes?

Scam apps have become widespread in the market, but it's hard to identify those malicious apps beforehand. Sometimes you might be unaware of downloading it on your mobile.

Online Dating apps, for instance, you might be cheated to purchase and become a monthly subscription member. You will have no chance to hang out with any woman or man in the end. Even worst, you might be talking to a bot without awareness.

Another example is a fake game website that can steal your game’s user account and password. You might be cheated to log in to the phishing website by email because it looks as same as the official one. You will never know its difference.

In this article, we will explore 3 effective methods below to quickly spot a scam app.

  • Check Developer’s website URL and email
  • Check the Developer’s Address
  • Check App Review

1. Check Developer’s website URL and email

Usually, you can find develop’s website URL and email on App Store like Google Play Store or Apple Store.

For example, you can extract xxxxx.com from the website URL or email address like (123@xxxxx.com).

Then go to Scam Adviser website and paste your URL (xxxxx.com) below

Scam Adviser is a website that can provide some analytics data to check your suspicious URL in domain name, review, company info, and etc.

Then you will see the score as below.

Click Detailed Analysis

You will find the company’s address is properly registered or not.

Why?

Because scam apps or malicious hackers don’t want to expose where they are.

If it’s a legal business, company info will be properly registered in the domain name.

Note:

If a website is a scam, you can validate it can meet the following points.

  • The company’s address or info is hidden.
  • The score point is below 70 on Scam Adviser.
  • Someone has reported the website as a scam.

2. Check the Developer’s Address

You can find the address on App Store or Scam Adviser. Check it in Google Maps. If it is hidden, located in a strange place, or even does not exist, your app is very suspicious.

Think about why someone wants to hide the company’s address from an app. They properly want to cheat you and don't want to reveal their real identities.

3. Check App Review

To know what customers had said and reported for this app is essential. This can be a wake-up call for you to be careful about using this app.

However, App reviews can be faked as well. Can we fully trust App Review?

We cannot trust it completely but a negative review might be an important factor to consider to spot a scam. Because not many people will pay someone to write negative reviews for their apps.

Note:

  • If you find an app with a lower score, bad review, and company address is hidden, the app is definitely a scam.
  • Remember that URL of the website can be changed all the time.
  • Even if having a high score with no bad review but only a hidden address, you still need to pay attention to your app.

Summary

In this article, you have learned how to efficiently spot a scam app by checking the developer’s website URL, Email, address, and app reviews.

Checking the developer’s address is an important factor to take into account because a website URL can be changed all the time to gain a high score in Scam Adviser.

If you get some suspicious link from the email/SMS/Messanger, remember not to open it directly. Check the sender's email domain or the link by using Scam Adviser, which can give you objective data to help you identify you are under attack or not.

Moreover, you can also apply this method to check the suspicious URL of e-commerce or game websites on Scam Adviser to ensure the safety of your personal data.

Thanks for reading.

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Eric Wei

Eric Wei

Senior Full Stack Engineer & Solution architecture | AWS, GCP, Azure | Cloud, Unity Game Development, SDK, DevOps, and more.