All major indicators are pointing to a doubling of the app economy by 2020 – to a staggering 100 billion US dollars. The downside to such explosive growth is that it attracts digital criminals hoping to make money off someone else’s good name.
According to a report published by Comscore in 2016, digital media time across advanced economies had grown by more than 50% in the preceding three years, with almost 90% of that growth attributable to the mobile app. In just a few years, the number of app users has passed the 2-billion mark.
As Christmas 2016 was approaching, digital scammers did their best to fool online shoppers with phony retail apps. According to the New York Times, hundreds of fake apps pretending to be well-known brands like Nordstrom, Jimmy Choo and Christian Dior started popping up. Users were asked for credit card information and Facebook passwords, leaving them wide open to fraud. As this example shows, the risks posed by fake apps to unwitting users are significant. What is being done about it?
Flag, report and remove
Even though all leading markets have a review process, fake apps still sneak through. That’s why key markets (App Store, Google Play, Windows Store and Blackberry World) provide an online form, allowing users to report suspected infringements. Following an investigation, the offending app is removed. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is for brand owners to monitor app markets on a continuous basis.