The trick of free applications that make the user pay almost 3,000 euros a year

Fraudulent applications.

Fraudulent applications.

Avast has discovered more than 200 new apps with hidden subscription fees ('fleeceware') in the App Store of Manzana Y Google PlayStore, which have been downloaded a billion times and accumulate more than $ 400 million in revenue.

Fleeceware applications attract users with the offer of a free trial of a few days, with an unusually high subscription fee. Once the test is over, users are charged a recurring subscription fee, even if they have removed the app, until they unsubscribe in their device's app store settings.

From the cybersecurity company they point out that one of the detected applications, for example, offers a short free trial that is followed by a subscription of $ 66 per week, which It could cost the victim a total of $ 3,432 (about 2,900 euros) a year if he does not cancel.

The more than 200 'fleeceware' applications that they have discovered are mainly applications of musical instruments, hand readers, image editors, camera filters, psychics, QR and PDF code readers, and 'slime simulators', indicate in a statement.

Jakub Vávra, Threat analyst at Avast, has pointed out that "it seems that part of the strategy of 'fleeceware' is to target younger audiences through funny topics and attractive ads on social networks, promising them a 'free download'. By the time parents realize the weekly payments, the 'fleeceware' may have already extracted significant sums of money. "

How to avoid the 'trap'

Although subscriptions are frequent in app stores, Avast recommends "be careful" with applications that offer free trials for very short periods, for example, less than a week.

These 'fleeceware' 'apps' are actively advertised on major social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. Therefore, above all, it is advisable to maintain "skepticism" with the viral ads of applications.

Also, it is important to read the fine print. "A closer look it will probably reveal the true price of the application ", they indicate from the cybersecurity company. It is advisable to pay" special attention "to the section 'Purchases within the application'.

And make sure that the payment methods used are blocked by a password or a biometric security system. "This can also avoid accidental subscriptions by children ", conclude from Avast.


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