How to spot fake apps on the Google play store.
It seems that every year, the number of malicious or misleading apps on the Play Store increases. Google is often quick to take action and remove them, but they’re still a long way from providing a quality defence against malware.
The Play Store has become an ugly place. It was once a great resource. Does your phone need a new feature? Okay, just go to the Play Store, try out some apps and you’ll be able to solve your problem. Nowadays, it’s not so easy. Scammers can falsify positive ratings, buy a high ranking, and sometimes outright plagiarize other apps.
So, how do you recognize bad apps?
Step 1: When you search for an app on the Play Store, there may appear to be more than one app with a similar name. The difference between them is generally spelling mistakes in the name and description. Ensure that you read the description about the app to spot these errors before downloading.
Step 2: When you are checking the app description page, look for tags like “Editor’s Choice” and “Top Developer” as these are less likely to be duplicate apps. You can also visit the publisher website to be extra careful before downloading it.
Step 3: When download popular apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, PUBG Mobile, and more, the download count will definitely be higher. However, if an app has downloads of around 5,000 or less, the chances of it being a fake app are higher.
Step 4: Another way to be sure about an app is to check the screenshots. A fake app is likely to have weird wordings and strange photos in screenshots. Similarly, checking for reviews and ratings will give you an idea as to what users think about it after downloading and using it.
Step 5: Next, look at the app publish date. If it is a new app by a popular company, it will obviously have a recent publication date. But mostly fake apps have a recent publish date, whereas a genuine app will have an “updated on” date.
Step 6: Lastly, this is the most important aspect when looking for fake apps. Look at the permissions that the app is asking for. Say you downloaded a third-party messaging app, it will need permission to phone book, dialler and maybe storage for backup. But if it is asking for permissions for the camera, audio and more, there is a reason to worry. Also, ensure that you don’t give such permissions to the app.
With the help of these above tips, you can easily spot fake apps and stay away from them. And for more such tips and tricks, follow our dedicated how-to section here.