How to spot fake apps in Google's Play Store
If you've been following Dropplets, you know that I like to create short, punchy guides that teach regular people useful things, and help them stay safe online. Believe it or not, even Google's Play Store has been recently affected by a wave of fake Android apps, which have been used to infect phones and steal data from millions of users. So, how can we spot a fake app?
The first step is to only download apps from Google's store, because the recently introduced Google Play Protect security system is able to identify most rogue applications.
But this is not enough! You should always run a simple Google search before installing an application. Then, see what other people say about that particular app. The next logical step is to search for the application name in the app store, and take a good look at all the results. If you notice that the same application has five different versions in the app store, four of them may be created by hackers.
It's time to take a good look at the developer's name. Is the name identical with the company that has developed the app you are interested in? What other apps have they created? Are they legit applications, and are their reviewers thrilled by those apps? If anything looks wrong, resist the temptation to install that particular app.
How many downloads does the app have? Popular applications have been downloaded at least hundreds of thousands of times. If another app version, which has the same name with the one that interests you, has only been downloaded a few hundreds of times, you can tell for sure that it is a fake one.
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Once that you have spotted a fake app, you should let Google know about it by clicking the "Flag as inappropriate" link. This way, you will help other users stay safe as well. Simply choose the "Copycat or impersonation" reporting option, and then press the submit button.