The world is going digital and mobile. Retailers, restaurants, services, and other businesses are making the shift from static locations and static forms of payment to a world where customers can pay with their mobile devices. While this allows for greater convenience for users, it can also expose businesses to more risk.
With the increase in mobile app development and the growth of mobile commerce, scammers have found ways to take advantage of this by creating mobile payment app scams. These fraudulent mobile apps look and feel like the real thing and trick users into installing and purchasing them. Users who fall for these types of scams may lose money because they pay for a service they didn’t receive or they hand over personal or financial information. There are measures you can take to avoid getting scammed and protect yourself from fraud. Here’s how to avoid mobile payment app scams:
Be cautious when downloading apps
One of the best ways to avoid getting scammed is to be cautious when downloading apps. You shouldn’t download an app if it sounds too good to be true, or if it’s too cheap or too many apps are offering you for a certain price. For example, if a restaurant app is asking you to download it for free, or for just a dollar, that’s probably a warning sign. Before you download an app, look at its ratings, the number of installs it has, and the number of people talking about it. It’s also a good idea to read the reviews written by other users so you can get a better idea of what you might be getting yourself into before you actually try to use the app.
Don’t hand over sensitive information without encryption
When you sign up for mobile apps or services or enter your personal or financial information, make sure you do so securely. This can include entering your information on the sign-up page or submitting your information using SSL encryption when you log into the app’s dashboard. This will protect your information, and it will prevent other users from seeing your information or accessing your account. Some scammers will use apps with encryption to hide their malware, steal your information, or infect your device with malware. Make sure that the app encrypts your information before you log in.
Don’t use a service you didn’t know you were using
Before you start using a certain service, read the terms and conditions associated with the service and the app that you plan on using. Be sure you understand exactly what you are getting into and what you are agreeing to. If you didn’t know about a particular service, and now you want to use it, don’t just go ahead and download an app. Ask a friend, relative, or co-worker for advice on what you can do. You can also use Google to do a general search for the service you want to use.
Always read the terms and conditions
Most companies have terms and conditions associated with the apps they offer. Before you download an app or use a service, make sure you read the terms and conditions and understand what you are agreeing to. Make sure you understand the rights and restrictions associated with the app you plan on using. If you were told that you could download an app or use a service, but you weren’t given a copy of the terms and conditions, don’t download the app.
Use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi
If you are using public Wi-Fi, it’s a good idea to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This will protect your information and keep your data and browsing private. While it’s not a foolproof way to avoid mobile payment app scams, it will protect your information from being stolen or tampered with. When you are using public Wi-Fi, make sure that you are using the VPN on the app you are using. If you aren’t sure, open up the app and switch to the “VPN” option so you can see which VPN app you are currently connected to.
Use a different email address when you sign up for new services
When you are signing up for new services, make sure that you use a different email address than the one you use for your credit cards or other important information. You can also create a new email account before you sign up for services that you don’t use often. This will make it harder for scammers to steal your information if they are using a phishing scam.
Mobile payments are a great way to pay for services without having to go to a brick-and-mortar store or make a trip to the ATM. But with this comes risk. If you want to make sure you don’t get scammed while using mobile payment, you need to do your research before you install an app and use a service. Be cautious when downloading apps, don’t hand over sensitive information without encryption, don’t use a service you didn’t know you were using, always read the terms and conditions, use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi, and use a different email address when you sign up for new services.