Think Before Install: Apps Trick You into Expensive Subscriptions

Apps and Software

As like in social media that you must think before what you want to say, you must also think before you install a certain app / Photo by: StockSnap via Pixabay


There are always risks involved when you are downloading any kind of app your mobile device, be it your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, so that you should always have a level of caution and scrutiny before you even click on that “install” or “get” button. And this is not exclusive to Android’s Play Store whose “open platform” attracts both legitimate and unscrupulous developers. Even Apple’s closely guarded App Store yields a lot of apps who may be legitimate but still fit the description of being a scam.

For instance, a Forbes feature article reported about an obscure app for reading barcodes that automatically initiates a $156 yearly subscription that the user is not told about in clear and certain terms. And that is just one of these app scams that can charge thousands of dollars for their yearly subscription even though they offer minimal functions, with some even having free counterparts that come with the OS.

This sort of thing, unfortunately, is nothing new. App scams have been happening ever since apps were created and made available on both the Play Store and the App Store.

Apple, for its part, has done something to clean its store. Just last summer, it removed an app called “Mobile Protection: Clean & Security VPN” that was scamming the iOS users who have bought it $80,000 per month as it cleverly indicated in its description an auto-renewing subscription rate of $0,99 (yes, that’s a comma instead of a period that most users would have missed, and they actually did). Of course, there are a lot more of these types of apps that are still in the App Store, which means Apple will have to exert more effort.

Currently, 18 other apps have been identified as following the same model for scamming. They offer simple functionalities that unsuspecting people will think is for free or sold for cheap, but have in fact very expensive subscription rates.