Though Facebook already has an official mobile app, that doesn’t stop cyber scammers from tricking would-be downloaders into putting a fake app on their phone and revealing personal information. According to Cheetah Mobile Threat Lab, the digital security firm has detected around 15,000 fake social networking apps in the past year. Unsurprisingly, Facebook alone was the subject of 8,107 imposter apps.
Most of these phony apps afflict Internet users overseas in countries like Malaysia, Vietnam and Russia. According to Cheetah, cybercriminals set to work monetizing the fake apps as much as possible once they’ve been downloaded by unsuspecting users. This includes pegging big extra charges to users’ wireless bills, sending and receiving texts or draining pre-paid accounts. Worst of all, these apps can be used to collect personal information, like user names and passwords, that scammers can utilize to impersonate users online.
Fortunately, these fake apps are pretty easy to spot. They’re much smaller in terms of data size, and they ask for far fewer permissions from users when they’re downloaded. Additionally, these apps are almost always found and deleted from official app store platforms, which means you should be able to easily avoid falling victim to one of these scams if you steer clear from third-party app download sites.