March 6, 2017
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt advises consumers on the use of mobile apps, or software downloaded onto a mobile device such as a phone or tablet. Communication device manufacturers provide “app stores” where consumers can download and install apps. While many apps provide entertainment or educational content, consumers should be aware that using apps, especially those that are developed by fraudsters, may present risks to their personal information.
Many consumers store large volumes of information on their mobile devices. Calendars may have birthdays and details about personal or family schedules. Text messages can include addresses, photos, social security numbers and other items of personal information. All of this information may be vulnerable to acquisition by app developers that seek personal information for marketing purposes. What’s more, if the app is a counterfeit app made to look like a legitimate app, fraudsters may now have direct access to information stored on mobile devices.
“Mobile apps make news, directions, books and games accessible at our fingertips,” said Laxalt “which can also make much of our personal and private information accessible to fraudulent app developers. National Consumer Protection Week is dedicated to alerting consumers about how to protect their private information, and I encourage all Nevadans to read our tips and think twice before downloading mobile apps.”
The following tips can help consumers protect their personal information while using mobile apps:
- Before downloading a mobile app, research the reputation of the app developer. Reviews about the developer may be accessible in the app store. If no website or contact information can be found for the developer, proceed with caution.
- Review the permissions you are granting to the app developer prior to installing the app on your device. Confirm that the permissions are appropriate for the app’s purpose and function.
- After downloading the app, install any future updates. Updates often have security patches that protect your information and mobile device from the latest malware.
- Periodically review all apps on your mobile device, and remove the ones that you no longer use on a regular basis.
- If your phone starts sending email or text messages you did not write, or installs additional apps that you did not download, these are indications of malware. If you suspect malware, you should contact customer support for the manufacturer of your mobile device. You may also consider security apps that can scan your phone for malware and remove malicious apps.
For more information on mobile apps and associated risks, visit the FTC’s website here. For information on counterfeit retail apps, click here.