Mobile apps play a key role in how we access information across smartphones and other handheld devices. Whether it be keeping up with the latest news, sharing content with family and friends or conducting business, apps are a fundamental part of modern day living.


The app market is one of the largest consumer markets globally and also one of the fastest growing, with almost 140 billion app downloads across iOS and Google Play. Similarly, a rise in downloads has seen significant growth in revenue, with many imposters looking to make a quick buck from unsuspecting users.


Fake mobile apps are on the rise; and whether your business is in the app game or not, it’s important to be aware of the signs and take precautions to safeguard your business, your profits and your clients from fraudulent apps.



What are fake mobile apps?

Fake mobile apps are designed to emulate the look and functionality of their legitimate counterparts. Users are tricked into downloading the app, which can boast the same name, branding, and even contain app store reviews to solidify its legitimacy. The motive behind fake mobile apps ranges from collecting personal data and financial information, to the installation of mobile malware or generation of revenue through advertisements.


The importance of protecting your business from fake mobile apps

The creation of fake mobile apps to impersonate a business or organisation is a form of business identity theft and can have a significant impact on your business, including:

Damage of reputation

Your brand’s reputation reflects the quality of your business. Unsuspecting clients may be fooled into using a fake mobile app, thinking that they are interacting with your brand. Even if the issue is identified and resolved, they may be hesitant to use your brand’s legitimate app in future.

Revenue loss

Fake mobile apps can redirect payments to illegal or third-party websites. Businesses that fall victim to fraudulent apps can face a decline in revenue, resulting in challenges in meeting operating expenses and other business costs.

Stunt in growth

Growing a business requires time, resources and finances – all of which can be eaten up quickly when dealing with the impacts of fake mobile apps. Getting your company back on its feet can be a challenge, halting any prospective activities for the foreseeable future.


How to spot fake mobile apps

Release date: Be wary of apps with a recent date but a high number of downloads; legitimate apps usually have high downloads and have been on the market for a long period.

Number of downloads: Searching for a popular app but notice that it only has a few thousand downloads? This can be a good indication of a fake mobile app.

Reviews: Peruse the reviews – consistently bad ratings may be a sign of a fraudulent app. However, some developers use fake reviews to enhance the legitimacy of their app, so use your best judgement.

Grammatical errors: Legitimate apps often have entire teams working behind the scenes to ensure precision in every aspect. If the description of the app or any part of the UI contains typos, proceed with caution.


How to avoid fake mobile apps

Protecting your business’ assets can deter thieves from targeting your brand.

Registering your IP

Registration of your brand’s intellectual property through trademarks, patents and copyrights can act as evidence of ownership, making you less vulnerable to impersonators. This covers you legally in the event of brand theft and ensures that your IP cannot be copied, modified or used by external parties. While protecting your IP can sometimes be a lengthy and costly process, it is crucial for retaining your brand’s identity and reputation.

Use detection technology

Trawling various app stores manually searching for fake mobile apps is not feasible. Fake Mobile App Detection software from FraudWatch regularly scans for apps that may be impersonating your brand, allowing you to take action sooner.

How FraudWatch can help

Protect your business and your clients from the threat of fake mobile apps. Contact FraudWatch to learn more about our mobile application fraud solutions.