Ahead of the holiday season, a plethora of fake apps has been unleashed on the iOS App Store. Having stolen brand names as well as logo, these counterfeit branded shopping apps have fully prepared themselves to deceive buyers.

Fraudsters have masqueraded as big department stores such as Dillard’s and Nordstrom, retail chains including Dollar Tree and Foot Locker, online product bazaars such as Zappos.com and Polyvore.

Fake Retail iPhone and iPad AppsImage Credit: NYTimes.com

Hundreds of Fake iPhone Apps Out to Deceive You

“We’re seeing a barrage of fake apps,” said Chris Mason, chief executive of Branding Brand, a Pittsburgh company that helps retailers build and maintain apps. He said his company constantly tracks new shopping apps, and this was the first time it had seen so many counterfeit iPhone apps emerge in a short period of time.

Some of them appeared to be relatively harmless-essentially junk apps that served up annoying pop-up ads, he said.The New York Times.

Though Apple’s app review system is widely considered to be very strict as it keeps apps affected with viruses or malware out of the ecosystem, it is not yet competent enough to identify most cases of trademark infringement. It’s a matter of grave concern, and the Cupertino-based company needs to take a strong exception to it.

By requesting customers to buy products using credit cards, the counterfeiters can even steal the confidential information. As per the report, some apps cannot just steal personal information but even lock the phone to demand a huge ransom. Some counterfeiters request users to log in with their Facebook credentials, which may expose personal information. The report adds that most of these apps have come from developers in China.

It’s high time Apple began to examine the legitimacy of any apps which are associated with brands a lot more seriously. At the same time, brands also need to keep a close eye on how their names are being used.

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