From Samsung to Huawei, Android smartphones are some of the most popular handheld devices around the world. But if you have an Android smartphone, a new report may make you reconsider which apps you have installed on your device.
Researchers from Sophos have warned about 21 dangerous apps that can fleece you out of thousands of pounds. The apps charge users huge amounts of money if they don’t cancel a subscription before the short free trial window closes.
Worryingly, the apps have been downloaded nearly 600 million times, according to Sophos. The apps often charge users weekly or monthly ‘subscription’ payment options instead of annual charges.
In a blog about the findings, Sophos researcher Jagadeesh Chandraiah explained: “Sure, it might make the amount look smaller, so users might be less likely to experience sticker shock, but it actually exacerbates the overcharging.
“In one case, we found an app displaying subscription fees of €8.99 per week, or €23.99 per month, which works out annually to €467.48 (if you pay the weekly amount for 52 weeks) or €287.88 (if you pay the monthly amount for 12 months).”
Meanwhile, some of the apps prompted users to pay for a monthly subscription rate on one screen, and a much different weekly rate on another screen.
Based on the findings, the researchers are urging users to avoid apps with short ‘free trials.’ Mr Chandraiah said: “Nobody likes to read the fine print, but if you do happen to install an app that asks you to sign up for a free trial, it pays to read everything on the trial prompt to make sure you won’t be charged lots of money for an app.”
And if you have installed an app with a free trial, make sure you understand that simply uninstalling the app does not cancel the trial period.
Mr Chandraiah added: “Some publishers require you to send a specific email or follow other complicated instructions to end the free trial before you are charged, though you might just need to log into your Google Pay to cancel.
“Keep copies of all correspondence with the publisher, and be prepared to share that with Google if you end up disputing the charges.”
The 21 apps
Face X Play
GO Keyboard Lite
GO SMS Pro
S Photo Editor
Photo Recovery & Video Recovery