Almost everyone uses a cell phone today. And, the number using a smart phone and/or any other mobile device, such as a tablet, is increasing daily. We know that cell phones can be used to send instant text messages, which for many are used more frequently than communicating in person, on the telephone or sending an email. And, it has been reported that some individuals now spend more than four (4) hours or more a day using mobile devices. With the added time spent surfing the internet on all devices, using (icons on a desktop or) applications on a mobile device has become increasingly advantageous and customary for many of us.
Applications are more commonly referred to as “apps.” At this point there are approximately 4 million apps for Apple and Android cell phones. Using apps save a lot of time, do not require entering information on a search bar, and then selecting from a host of different entries or listings. As result, many consider apps to have become priceless (not just the free ones, but even those that come with a fixed price at the beginning and/or even a monthly fee).
Some apps are simply a convenient way to reach a business, and for many apps that are free there often are lots of advertisements that can be a nuisance. But, some apps bring with their use both spam and viruses, while others can cause a great deal of harm, for example when a culprit uses their fake app to obtain all of our confidential information stored on our device. Yes, there are a growing number of apps every day that are fake & not genuine. The average individual would not ordinarily be able to discern whether an app is legitimate because they use the exact logo, same address and everything including the order form that makes them look genuine, except the telephone number and email address with which you are using to communicate.
Even worse once you find an object on the internet using a counterfeit or fake app (and, not knowing it is not authentic) to order and make a purchase, you will never get the product, but your credit card will be charged. Then, all of your identification information will have been gathered, and before you know it you will have to cancel your credit card because it has become an object of identity theft of hundreds and potentially thousands of dollars. You may be naive to what has taken place and innocently give your address, your driver’s license number, and/or Social Security number (even just the last four digits). The problems just begin, having to report the suspicious and illegal activity, and cancel your credit card, which can ruin your credit. In addition, some or all of your private and confidential information stored on your device, however, may also be hacked and open to countless others.
An alternative may be to go online and find the “actual” business, then search to see if they have an app, and/or call and speak to their customer service to inquire if there is a link to their app and the online page for you to click. But, next time be cautious and really certain the app is genuine before you provide your identification information to a retailer or anyone when surfing the internet. This cautionary note is also relevant when providing information to anyone with whom you are speaking, whether in person or on the telephone; and, take the same precautions whether you have contacted a business to make a purchase or sought a service through the internet.