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Mobile app fraud: A comprehensive guide to protecting your revenue and reputation
Impersonation Removal
5 mins

Mobile app fraud: A comprehensive guide to protecting your revenue and reputation

Table of Contents:

    Today, there are around 3.5 million apps available to download from the Google Play Store and over 1.6 million on Apple’s App Store. Unfortunately, the staggering size of the mobile app industry has not only attracted innovators and creatives. Mobile app fraud is an increasingly damaging industry that thrives on taking advantage of legitimate brands and unsuspecting consumers. 

    To make your business safe from mobile app fraudsters and keep your interests secure, you need to take action first. Start this by understanding the different types and ways mobile app fraud work. With this knowledge, you’ll be ready to create plans to spot and stop mobile app scams quickly and easily.

    Mobile app fraud prevention begins with acquiring the right knowledge. That’s why in this blog we’ll be exploring mobile app fraud and how to protect your revenue and reputation by highlighting a few key topics, including:

    • Understanding mobile app fraud
    • Common types of mobile app fraud
    • Steps to report mobile app fraud
    • How Red Points streamline the detection and removal process of mobile app fraud 

    Understanding Mobile App Fraud

    Mobile app fraud comes in various forms. Mainly, it involves the creation of fake apps that mirror legitimate apps on the market. The goal of these fraudsters will be to trick people into downloading their app rather than the legitimate one. Then within this app, digital pirates will employ various tactics to gain the sensitive information of users, steal money and get them to make further purchases. 

    The impact of mobile app fraud on businesses 

    • A negative user experience 

    If users download and use fake apps that are similar to yours, they are likely to have a negative experience. This is because fake apps are often poorly made and may contain malware or other harmful content. As a result, users may associate this negative experience with your app, which could damage your app’s reputation. 

    Mobile app fraud doesn’t just present a technological challenge, but it also poses a significant risk to your brand’s reputation and the trust built with your customers. When users experience fraudulent activity associated with your app, they are likely to lose trust in your brand. This can lead to several negative consequences, like decreased app downloads, and negative reviews.

    • Loss of revenue 

    If mobile app fraudsters can flourish on marketplaces they will undercut your brand’s sales and cause users to lose revenue. Rather than getting your app and making a purchase from your business, unsuspecting consumers will be giving their money over to illegal apps and scammers. This will result in an overall loss of revenue and it will damage your business’s ability to grow. 


    Common types of mobile app fraud

    • Fake installs and click fraud

    Fake installs and click fraud are common schemes used by scammers to fraudulently claim advertising revenue. These methods steal money from advertisers, publishers, and networks while impacting the ability of legitimate app makers to monetize ads. 

    Click fraud, also known as click spam, occurs when a bad actor executes a ‘click’ for an unsuspecting user to make it seem as if they were exposed to an ad. While fake installs involve scammers using device emulators and bots to fake an app install and fraudulently claim advertising revenue. 

    • In-app purchase fraud 

    A threat that is becoming increasingly common in “free-to-play” apps is in-app purchase fraud. These schemes are especially prevalent in the mobile gaming market, which today is worth around $37 billion in the US alone. 

    Most free-to-play apps rely on a system of micro-transactions. In-app purchase fraudsters seek to circumvent these in-app charges by modifying the app to unlock premium content without paying or by faking the payment entirely. 

    If you allow your in-app purchasing mechanisms to be taken advantage of, any revenue you generate from within the app will be vulnerable to fraudsters.  

    • App spoofing and fake apps

    One of the most common mobile app fraud schemes involves creating fake apps that spoof and undercut legitimate apps. These apps will usually be inferior but will very closely resemble the real thing within the marketplace. Consumers will then download the spoofed app thinking it is legitimate, at which point they will be vulnerable to having their sensitive information stolen. 

    Steps to report mobile app fraud

    1. Documenting the evidence

    Your priority should be to document as much evidence as possible on any potential mobile app fraud incidents. Evidence is vital if you want to successfully remove mobile app fraudsters from marketplaces. Therefore the more valuable evidence you can obtain, in the form of screenshots, records of communication, and data, the easier it will be to create a convincing report. 

    2. Preparing a detailed report

    After you have gathered all the relevant evidence you can then start to prepare a report. This report should be logical, detailed, and pointed in its accusations. Every claim should be supported by evidence and should reference the relevant guidelines of the marketplace or website in question. 

    3. Submitting a complaint to the relevant body

    Once you have prepared your report you should submit your complaint to the relevant body. Most online app marketplaces like Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store have internal reporting systems that allow you to submit complaints about fake apps and scams. 

    How Red Points streamline the detection and removal process of mobile app fraud 

    Red Points’ Mobile App Protection solution will help you mitigate the risk of being targeted by mobile app fraudsters through a smart, streamlined system of detection and removal. We protect your mobile apps and brand on a variety of app stores including Google Play, Apple’s App Stores, Firefox, Microsoft Apps, Issuu, Ste Primo, and many more. 

    Even if your brand does not rely on mobile app revenue to survive, you will still be damaged if scammers take advantage of your intellectual property rights to create unauthorized or fraudulent apps that target your customers. Therefore it’s vital to act now and implement a solution that can tackle this issue with speed and precision. 

    Our solution works via three simple steps:

    • Find 

    Our automated bots crawl official and third-party app stores every day to identify potential infringements. Machine learning ensures that each search is targeted and more accurate every time. As we find potential incidents of mobile app fraud we will log these in a list for you to review. 

    • Remove 

    You can instantly start the enforcement process by validating the potential fake app infringements. This can be done manually or you can automate the process based on rules you set up. Once this is done our system will request takedowns automatically and start clearing marketplaces of any mobile app fraudsters. 

    • Measure

    After the fake apps are removed you can measure the impact of your mobile app brand protection coverage through our performance dashboards and reports. Here you can gain a comprehensive view of the situation as well as the knowledge you need to make crucial brand protection decisions in the future. 

    What’s next

    In today’s market, mobile app fraud is causing significant damage to many businesses and putting consumers in danger. 

    To ensure your brand can counter this issue you need to be aware of the common signs of mobile app fraud and be prepared to act when confronted by scammers. You also need to know how to swiftly report mobile app scams and get any fraudulent apps removed from online marketplaces. 

    Red Points’ Mobile App Protection solution is geared toward helping your business automatically find and remove fraudulent mobile apps. With our robust system of detection, removal, and review we will empower you to safeguard your brand, customers, revenue, and reputation. 

    To learn more about how Red Points can help you protect your business from mobile app fraud, talk to one of our experts here.


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