Attorney General Laxalt Warns of Counterfeit Retail Apps Ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

November 21, 2016

Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt warns Nevada’s consumers of counterfeit retail apps before the holiday shopping season. Retail apps can be helpful to consumers looking to purchase items online or pick up an item in-store, and can often contain access to exclusive sales or limited products. However, Apple’s App Store and Google Play have witnessed a recent surge in counterfeit retail apps that impersonate well-known retailers such as Zappos, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Foot Locker, Dollar Tree, Payless ShoeSource and others.

    Counterfeit apps can steal credit card or banking information and access users’ social media accounts. Some fraudulent apps install malware onto the user’s smartphone and can even lock a user’s phone and demand a fee to unlock the device.

      “Now that many credit cards have computer chips, fraudsters looking to collect personal or financial information are going to get the data any way they can, including creating counterfeit apps for smartphones,” said Laxalt. “I advise every Nevadan looking to make purchases during this busy holiday season to take extra care and to minimize their risk of being scammed.”

        Consumers looking to avoid falling victim to this scam can take the following steps:

          • Check the retailer’s website for direct links to its own app. Never click on an email link to download a new app.

            • Run a search for reviews of the app and who published the app. If the app has not yet been reviewed, that should serve as an indicator that the app was recently created. Few or bad reviews are also red flags.

              • Be cautious of any misspelled words in the description of an app. Fake apps are often created quickly and may contain grammatical errors.

                • Be wary of linking your credit card to any app. If the app turns out to be counterfeit, fraudsters can have easy access to your financial information.

                  • Monitor your credit card statements more frequently during the holidays. Fraudsters can obtain credit card information even if you have not shopped online.

                    Those who believe they have been victimized by this scam can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission here.