Attention Android Users! Avoid These Apps on Google Playstore Before You Get Ripped Off
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IT security firm Sophos has discovered some new 'fleeceware' that is affecting Android users by overcharging them for utility apps with basic functions such as a calculator, a compass or a QR reader. The apps do not contain any malware and won't even harm the phone if they are installed.
According to a report, Android users can install and use these apps for free, but only during a trial period (usually 3 days). It goes on to add that the payment information is requested in advance and once the trial period expires, and if the service has not been cancelled, the user is charged an exorbitant amount. However, if one uninstalls the app before hitting the 'Cancel' button, one might be out of luck because when the app goes away, so does that all-important button.
Red flags regarding these apps are found in the listings page of the Google Play Store itself. One particular post saw Google mentioning they will not reimburse Android users who were scammed out of their cash. When Sophos approached Google with a list of 15 such apps, Google told the company that it had already decided to remove some of the apps. Notably, 14 of these 15 apps have been delisted from the Play Store. However, the security firm says that it has found other titles with even higher install counts than the original 15.
Developers of such apps hope Android users installing their apps forget about the three-day free trial. Furthermore, they are also counting on users not understanding that merely deleting the app doesn't remove the installer's financial obligations to the developer. Since they are technically following the rules created by Google for in-app purchases, there really isn't much that can be done. One should read the comments sections for the apps first and see how users have reacted to not.