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Hey Spiceheads! “Fleeceware” are mobile apps that aren’t malware but can charge subscribers steep fees, often unexpectedly. In March, researchers found a total of 204 fleeceware apps in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, with over a billion downloads and over $400 million in revenue. Let's take a look at some ways fleeceware encourages people to download the app and then some ways to protect yourself from downloading fleeceware.

Many fraudulent sites do not just direct people to download this fleeceware app. These sites also borrowed from tried-and-true “chain letter’ scam techniques to enlist visitors in helping to publicize the sites by sharing links with friends and on social media.

How A Typical Fleeceware App Tries To Attract Users

  • The sites do this first by encouraging the visitor to send links to the site to 20 of their friends or to five group chats on social media.
  • Then the site asks users to take a short “survey” asking if they use the spoofed postal service, their age, their sex, and what social media they use the most.
  • Then the site recommends they advertise the site further by sharing the link to the site on the social network they specified.
  • Finally, the site then directs them to the fleeceware app on the Google Play Store.

Ways You Can Protect Yourself From Fleeceware
  • First, as always, be wary of sites offering giveaways, especially when they claim to be from official government agencies like a postal service.
  • Another red flag is the way in which the sites aggressively try to have you publicize the site by sending it to your friends and social networks.
  • Be sure to read the reviews and look at the fine print regarding an app’s trial period. Pay particular attention to what the app will charge and if it’s automatically deducted at the end of that trial period.
  • If you do activate an app that charges you more than you expect, you should go in and cancel that subscription right away.

For more on this read the full article.

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