Fake Apps Masquerading as Popular Retailers Appearing in the App Store nytimes.com

Vindu Goel, New York Times:

Hundreds of fake retail and product apps have popped up in Apple’s App Store in recent weeks — just in time to deceive holiday shoppers.

The counterfeiters have masqueraded as retail chains like Dollar Tree and Foot Locker, big department stores like Dillard’s and Nordstrom, online product bazaars like Zappos.com and Polyvore, and luxury-goods makers like Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo.

Contrary to the article, these apps did not appear “just in time for the holidays” — rather, that’s when the Times and New York Post noticed them. Even though Apple has now removed the apps from the App Store, there’s evidence around the web that these apps have been in the store since mid-September.

Apple gets a lot of App Store submissions, but App Review is supposed to prevent this kind of thing. Even after they scrubbed apps from “Footlocke”, there are still plenty of bogus apps on the store, like this fake SNKRS app.1 As far as I can figure out, the developer of that app as well as “Footlocke” have a bunch of other crapware on the store, and haven’t released anything legitimate. Perhaps apps with names similar to existing apps on the store from otherwise-unknown developers should be subjected to additional scrutiny.

  1. SNKRS is Nike’s app for hot new releases. It isn’t available in Canada, which is why that app caught my eye. Its lack of availability also explains why I’m waiting for a European retailer to ship my Special Field AF-1s. ↥︎