BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU -- When the maker of the popular smartphone app, Flappy Bird, pulled the hit game after just a month, scammers rose up to meet demand. Unfortunately, some copies of the app come with undesirable side affects.
How the Scam Works:
You want the new smartphone app that everyone is talking about, Flappy Bird. But the developer pulled it before you could download the game. You decide to look in the app store anyway. And sure enough, there is an app claiming to be Flappy Bird.
In order to install it, the scam app requires you to give it permission to send text messages, read your texts and access other apps. This is unusual. The real Flappy Bird app only asked downloaders to grant it access to the network, so it could serve up ads.
Once installed, The fake Flappy Bird app tries to force users into sending text messages to a premium number. (See image at left.) Even if you hit "cancel," the app keeps running in the background, where it could access information stored on your phone.
Tips for Avoiding Scam Apps:
- Just as your computer can become infected with a virus, so can your smartphone. Follow these tips to avoid malware infected apps.
- Stay away from discontinued apps: Don't attempt to download anything calling itself Flappy Bird, since the original version is "dead." This goes for other apps, too.
- Make sure to read the user reviews before downloading an app.
- Be sure to download apps through the official app stores, not alternative markets.
- Use security and anti-virus programs on your smartphone, just as you would a computer. Look in the app store for reputable solutions.
To find out more about scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper.
Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.