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Popular TikTok Profiles Promote Scammy Apps Generating $500,000

Popular TikTok Profiles Promote Scammy Apps Generating $500,000

At least three TikTok profiles with more than 350,000 followers combined have been promoting multiple fraudulent mobile apps that generated $500,000 in profit, according to conservative estimation.

The marketing push over TikTok likely played an important part in the scammy Android and iOS apps getting installed more than 2.4 million times.

Available in Android and iOS official stores

Researchers at Avast learned about the apps from a child using the company’s Be Safe Online to report a TikTok profile recommending one of the suspicious apps.

The researchers discovered three such profiles, although it is possible there are more, one of them having more than 330,000 followers (7odestar). Another one had over 28,000 followers (Dejavuuu.Es3). An Instagram account with at least 5,000 followers was also found to promote one of the apps.

“The iOS and Android apps appear to be developed by the same person or group. The links promoted on the social media profiles lead to the iOS or Android versions of the apps, depending on the device the link is being accessed from” – Avast

Also Read: 7 Simple Tips On How To Create A Good Business Card Data

Investigating the report, Avast discovered that the mobile apps pretended to be games, or music and wallpaper downloaders. Once installed, they would display ads aggressively and charge users between $2 and $10 for features that either don’t exist or don’t work properly, or for weekly subscription fees.

The revenue generated this way has been estimated to be more than $500,000, based on data from mobile insight company SensorTower.

At the time of writing, most of them have a rating between 1.3 and 3, low enough to steer away from them. However, users are more likely to install them when promoted by a popular account.

All these fraudulent apps are still present in the official app stores maintained by Google and Apple:

  • Shock My Friends – Satuna (AppStore)
  • 666 Time (AppStore)
  • ThemeZone – Live Wallpapers (AppStore)
  • shock my friend tap roulette v (AppStore)
  • Ulimate Music Downloader – Free Download Music (Google Play)
  • Tap Roulette ++Shock my Friend (Google Play)
  • ThemeZone – Shawky App Free – Shock My Friends (Google Play)

Some of them advertise a subscription-based game, promising to shock the player and their friends but all they get is a lighter wallet or a device that vibrates when the game starts, and a barrage of fullscreen ads.

Users should be wary of promoted mobile apps, even if they appear endorsed by popular profiles on a social media platform. Checking the opinion of other users that experienced them first hand is a good way to determine if it is a scam or not.

Even with positive reviews, when asked to pay for an extra feature, it is recommended to assess if the deal is worth the money. Paying $8 for wallpapers is very expensive, considering that many legitimate apps provide this for free and make money from decent in-app advertising.

Another sign of suspicious behavior is when the app asks for more permissions than it needs. A music app, for instance, does not need to access the camera, just like a wallpaper app has no use for a microphone.

Reading the permissions granted for apps at installation time could save you from mischief later.

Also Read: Website Ownership Laws: Your Rights And What It Protects



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