Fake Apps Bring Naughty Gifts – Harness Digital Marketing

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NO, this blog isn’t about those kind of “naughty gifts.” I’m talking about the naughty gifts or unsuspecting consequences of downloading fake apps.

Fake apps have been wreaking havoc with national retailers. With the upcoming holiday shopping season coming, will you be receiving  something good or naughty with that downloaded app?

Most recently Ugg, Dillards, Dollar Tree, Zappos and New Balance experienced fake apps pretending to be them and customers downloading them to receive discounts. A fake Coach app offered 20% off shoes, handbags, and accessories if you downloaded the app. Once users did, they were prompted for more information than what is usually required to download an app.

Your small mom and pop business will most likely not have an app for their business. If they do, it will be a third party app and you should still be cautious. Currently 2 out of 3 retailers in the U.S. do NOT have an app for their business. With 21% of shoppers going mobile this holiday season, it is easy to think that most major retailers would have one. This time of year shoppers are looking for deals and look towards phone apps to get that extra dollar amount off their purchase. Up to 56% of shoppers are looking for deals online and only use the app to get those deals.

Currently most smartphone users download apps from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Apple has a reputation for being very stringent with their requirements to submit an app and it can take up to 30 to 60 days for approval. Whereas, the Android platform has been more open and only taking hours to a few days. Both OS platforms have an approval process in place, but due to high demand for submitting apps, sometimes some of the more harmful ones still make it through.


  1. If you are not sure if the retailer you shop at has an app, go to their website to verify the link to download.
  2. Always look at reviews before downloading. If the reviews are poor, review them and think twice about downloading them. If they have NO reviews, don’t download and wait to see. Don’t be the first.
  3. Typos! Yes, typos. If the app or description has many typos, it is very likely it is a fake.
  4. If they require a lot of information or have a lot of pop-ups, it is likely an app developed to collect your data/information.
  5. Most legitimate businesses with apps do NOT require you to download their app in order to get a percentage or discount.

If you suspect the app you downloaded is fake, remove it immediately, do a hard restart on your phone, and monitor for anything that seems out of the ordinary. Back in the day we had to be leery of downloading screensavers, today it’s fake apps.

Happy Holiday Shopping and Be Safe! #TurnTheLightBulbOn

Tom Harness | Twitter: @iTomHarness | Snapchat: tharness | tom@harnessdigitalmarketing.com |

About Tom Harness

Tom Harness is the owner of Harness Digital Marketing, a digital marketing firm that works with businesses and organizations on Social Media, SEO, and Email Marketing. He is an entrepreneur and business owner with 20 years of combined experience in Education, IT, and Business. Tom is a U.S. Army Veteran and a Southern Illinois University alum. He also enjoys craft beers, his beloved Chicago Cubs, and his family.

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