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**CONSUMER ALERT** CFO Jimmy Patronis: Beware of Scam Phone Apps, Defrauding Users out of $48 Million

6/8/2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis warned Florida consumers to beware of mobile phone app fraud as a recent report suggests nearly two percent of the top 1,000 App Store titles are some form of scam. According to the report, the apps may have defrauded users out of an estimated $48 million.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Everyday, consumers become more dependent than ever on our mobile phones and the apps we download. While many apps are legitimate, some are created to steal your personal information and possibly your hard-earned money. Florida consumers must be on the lookout for app scams and know the warning signs to avoid falling victim to a fraud scheme. Parents should educate kids on apps to avoid and closely monitor app downloads in your household. If you feel you have become the victim of an app scam, delete the app immediately and monitor your financial accounts closely for any fraudulent charges.”
 
Four Tips to Avoid App Scams
 
1. Check the reviews. App Store reviews can give insight from users who have downloaded and used the app before and know if it’s legitimate. Read through many reviews as some of those may be faked to help the app move up in the app store rankings.
2. Don’t just trust the ratings. Scammers have also learned how to inflate their ratings with fake likes to make scam apps look more legitimate. Likewise, be on the lookout for “spoofed” apps that are named similar to more popular and legitimate mobile apps.
3. Give it a free try. Many apps will allow you try them for free before paying to use them regularly. This will allow you to give the app a good walk-through before you purchase.
4. Ask a friend or family member. At the end of the day, the best advice usually comes from a trusted friend or loved one. Ask around before downloading that new app to see what your friends think. It could save you from a scam.


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About CFO Jimmy Patronis 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).