The New York Times is reporting, “Hundreds of fake retail and product apps have popped up in Apple’s App Store in recent weeks — just in time to deceive holiday shoppers.” Some of the apps merely serve up a slew of pop-up ads while others are more malicious and attempt to steal users’ personal information or credit card numbers.
Companies that track counterfeit apps say that this is the first time so many have slipped through Apple’s review process at once. Many of the mobile development firms involved in the scam are located in China, and they are putting out apps that pretend to associated with brands like Dollar Tree, Foot Locker, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Zappos.com, Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo.
After being notified about the story, Apple began removing many of the problematic apps. “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.”