Hundreds of Fake Shopping Apps Surface in iOS App Store – Shoppers Beware!

Uzair Ghani

As we move closer to the holiday season, users are bound to see all sorts of 'weird' and 'odd' things pop up left, right and center.

The iOS App Store is Infested with Fake Retail Apps, What is Apple's Review Team Doing?

On the Web there are a lot of ways how a user might get scammed while shopping for something. From fake coupons to mischievously crafted discount links, a lot of users fall for the trap in different ways. However, on mobile, especially on iOS, it's a little tougher to get scammed since Apple takes a fair bit of time reviewing apps before publishing them on the App Store. Well, apparently, this is not the case at all as hundreds of fake retail apps have made their way onto the App Store, which serve the purpose of either just serving ads to generate revenue or scam the user to part with their credit card / banking information.

The counterfeiters have masqueraded as retail chains like Dollar Tree and Foot Locker, big department stores like Dillard’s and Nordstrom, online product bazaars like and Polyvore, and luxury-goods makers like Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo.

Before you even tap on that 'download' button, please take the time out to see the name of the developer and where the app is originating from. Most of the scam apps that slip through Apple's review process emerge from China. And while Apple is actively taking down these apps since they have been pointed out by various news outlets, it does not mean users should skip exercising caution altogether.

“We strive to offer customers the best experience possible, and we take their security very seriously,” said an Apple spokesman, Tom Neumayr. “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.”

Interestingly, retailers who don't have an official iPhone or iPad app at all are most vulnerable in this case. Users fall victim to them easily, believing they are downloading something absolutely legit.

While many of you out there will take different routes to grab yourself a great deal online, but please, a little caution can go a long way in saving you from a lot of trouble. Avoid links that pop up in your email claiming to land you a discount. Also, links can be delivered via text as well, something which you should avoid too.

Let's just hope Apple has this problem fixed way before the holiday season kicks in.


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