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SMART phones have made it significantly easier to fall victim to online scams, but there are several things you can do to protect your phone and yourself.
Many of the apps people download to their phones can be used to spread malware or steal data or money, so it’s important to keep an eye out for the warning signs.
Some of the the apps that spread malware or malicious code are copycats of other apps to trick users into downloading them. Others simply offer a good deal while disguising the costly, hard-to-cancel subscription that comes with it.
Even worse, many legitimate apps are exploited by fraudsters in order to steal users’ information, data and even money.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are examples of legitimate apps that can be used to scam users, as reported by AARP.
Before downloading an app, there are several things you can do to protect yourself.
First, you should check the app’s comments and reviews, and search specifically for negative ones, as users who have been scammed before can use that space to warn others.
Beware that a bunch of repetitive positive reviews can itself be a bad sign, as reviews can be faked.
It’s also important to check where the app comes from, and downloading them from websites is not the safest bet.
The safest place to download apps is from an official app store like Apple’s App Store for iOS, and the Google Play Store for Android, experts say.
And Apple’s app store is safer than the Google Play Store, because the company demands more requirements be filled before developers can get their product on the platform.
But even the Apple app store isn’t completely safe: a recent Washington Post analysis found that two percent of the 1,000 highest-grossing apps on the App Store are scams, and a estimated $48 million were stolen.
Another thing to watch out for when downloading apps that offer free services or products is hidden fees and subscriptions.
You should investigate what exactly it is the app is offering for free by carefully reading the terms and conditions and in-app purchase descriptions.
It’s also important to keep an…