Google has now made a list of 150 harmful Android apps that you should remove from your phone

You must be on the lookout for scammers regardless of the gadget you are using. Any email you receive, any text you receive, or any software you download could be harmful. There isn’t a week that goes by without a new threat, and this week’s is a collection of fraudulent Android apps on Google Play. In recent weeks, the cybersecurity software business Avast has been reporting on a fraud campaign dubbed UltimaSMS. The premium SMS fraud campaign included 151 apps, according to Avast. These phoney Android apps imitate actual utilities such as photo editors and camera filters, as well as games and QR code readers. Their goal is to persuade victims to sign up for costly SMS services.

Once you submit the information, the app will sign you up for a premium SMS service that could cost upwards of $40 a month. At this point, the app will display even more subscription options or simply stop working. You will then be charged every week by the scam service. Here’s why people are downloading these fake Android apps on Google Play, as Avast explains:

If you install an UltimaSMS app, it will immediately check your phone’s location, IMEI, and number to figure out which country area code and language to use for the scam. When you open the app, you’ll see a screen in your language asking you to enter your phone number and/or email address.

The apps discovered are essentially identical in structure, meaning the same base app structure is repurposed numerous times. These copies are disguised as genuine apps through well constructed app profiles on the Play Store. The profiles feature catchy photos and enticing app descriptions alongside often high review averages. However, upon closer inspection, they have generic privacy policy statements and feature basic developer profiles including generic email addresses. They also tend to have numerous negative reviews from users that correctly identified the apps as scams or have fallen for the scam.

Android device users have already downloaded these apps more than 10.5 million times. The good news is that Google has since banned every app that was part of this specific campaign. You should check the full list of fake apps to make sure you don’t have any on your phone. If you do find any of the apps from that list on your phone, delete them immediately.

Furthermore, the fake Android apps are being advertised on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms. These social media networks can’t catch everything (providing they’re even trying), so it’s up to you to assess the risk before you click on a sketchy ad for a flashy app.

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.

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  • Google has now made a list of 150 harmful Android apps that you should remove from your phone
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