No matter who you are or what device you’re using, you have to be on the lookout for scams. Any email you receive, text message someone sends you, or app you download could be dangerous and a scam camouflage. We can’t even go a week without a new threat popping up about one malware or spam. While the Google Play Store is arguably better today than it’s ever been in terms of cracking down on dodgy apps not being able to enter the Android app marketplace, there are still ways around that as the latest crucial warning concerns a collection of fake Android apps on the Google Play Store.
Cybersecurity software company Avast has been reporting on a scam campaign dubbed UltimaSMS in recent weeks. According to Avast, 151 apps were part of the premium SMS scam campaign. These fake Android apps disguise themselves as legitimate tools, from photo editors and camera filters to games, spam call blockers, and QR code scanners. Their intent is to get victims to sign up for expensive SMS services. In the blink of an eye, you’ve lost money that you might not be able to recover.
How UltimaSMS and other fake Android apps scams users
These fake android apps nearly identical in structure and functionality have been at a point or another been disguised as genuine apps through well-constructed app profiles available for download on the Google Play Store and downloaded more than 10.5 million times
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.
Once you submit the required information, the app will automatically sign you up for a premium SMS service that could cost upwards of $40 a month depending on the country and mobile carrier. 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. The worst part of these apps is that affected users may dismiss the apps as nonfunctional and uninstall them, however, the SMS charges will continue and could amount up to an unpleasant sum.
List of The apps removed from the Google Play store
The good news is that Google has since banned every app that was part of this specific campaign. If you’re wondering which specific apps you should be on the lookout for, you’re certainly not alone. Here are some of the most common fake Android apps that people installed on their Android phones:
Ultima Keyboard 3D Pro
VideoMixer Editor Pro
FX Animate Editor Pro
Battery Animation Charge 2021
Dynamic HD & 4K Wallpapers
RGB Neon HD Keyboard Background
AppLock X FREE
Ultra Camera HD
Wi-Fi Password Unlock
Wi-Fi Around: All Wi-Fi and Hotspots Unlock
Colorful Call Screen & Phone Flash
GT Sports Racing Online
Magic Fonts and Keyboard 2021
All Language Photo and Voice Translator Al
Crime City: Revenge
Projector HD/AR Video Editor
Ludo Masterpiece Online
Mobile Scanner Pro: PDF Scanner App, Scan to PDF
Magic Mix Cut – Super Video Editor
Future Scanner FREE 2021
Pro Video Downloader 2021
Football Masters 2021
New Body Shape Editor
Call Voice Recording 2.0
Pro Tuber Ad Blocker for Video
Fitness Ultimate 2021
Wallpaper XYZ Pro
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 fake Android apps from that list on your phone, please DELETE THEM IMMEDIATELY.
Most of these fake Android apps are being advertised on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok. It’s up to you to assess the risk before you click on a sketchy ad for a flashy app. It goes without saying that scam apps are always going to make their way into the Play Store. Google’s protective measures are nowhere near as secure as the iOS App Store, and even the App Store has problems of its own. We see issues like this pretty regularly in the Play Store though, so Android users need to be cautious of these fake apps as they tend to have numerous negative reviews from users that correctly identified the apps as scams or have fallen for the scam.
Needless to say, this is an extremely dangerous situation as anyone can fall prey to such. You might think you’re safe or that you’re too smart to fall for a scam app like this. The problem is that’s what everyone thinks. These scam apps are a huge problem that can affect anyone. How much attention do you really pay your phone when you download and install a new app?. It’s so important to always remain vigilant before you start getting those undesired debits.