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Rovio Scam in Android Market

November 28, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Angry Birds

Scammers are trying to take advantage of your love for Angry Birds with some fake apps that have appeared in the Android Market.  Several new apps, including Angry Birds 3D have gone up for sale today, but don’t be fooled!  These scammers are impersonating Rovio Mobile, the creators of the Angry Birds franchise, with a host of apps that are designed to steal your dollars.  Customers who have been taken in by these apps have reported that the apps do not work, and the developers have refused to give refunds.  We’ve alerted Google to the problem, and hopefully it will be taken care of soon.  Google’s Rito Meier has also responded, and they are now looking into the issue.  In the meantime, here’s a list of the apps you need to watch out for and avoid.

  • Alive 4 Ever
  • Call of Duty Zombies
  • Angry Birds 3D
  • Zombieville
  • Zombie Highway
  • Tiny Wings
  • Catch the Candy
  • Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift
  • Rat on a Skateboard
  • Zombie Gunship
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Siege Hero

The developers of these apps have stolen the app descriptions of legitimate apps, pasted them into the fakes, and hoped that you won’t know the difference.  Visiting the developer’s website links also takes you to a number of different sites, all of them dead links and variations on Rovio.com, the official site of Rovio Mobile.

This is a good time to point out a few ways that you can shop safely for your Android apps.

  • Shop the Amazon App Store.  It has fewer apps, but they go through a vetting process prior to release
  • Read app reviews and permissions!  If something is a scam, there’s probably someone who got taken in and wrote about it.  Android users look out for each other.  App permissions should also be considered carefully.
  • See how many downloads of the app there has been.  If the app has been around a while, but no one is downloading it, there’s probably a reason.
  • If you aren’t sure about an app, Google it and see what others have to say about it.
  • If the developer’s description is terribly written with a lot of mistakes, and words don’t make sense, it’s a good clue that the developer is probably a scammer.
  • If the app description is copied from another popular app, this should also clue you in that something has been altered or stolen.

Update:  

It appears Google has moved quickly, and the offending apps have been removed from the market.  Good going Google!

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