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Sure you can still use your cell phone for making calls, but today’s smartphones are capable of so much more. From browsing the Internet to streaming live video and downloading applications, smartphones are quickly turning into microcomputers that fit in the palm of your hand. Downloadable phone applications or "apps" as they are commonly referred to, is a great way to personalize your smartphone. There are apps for virtually everything – from banking to gaming, but what would happen if you inadvertently download a fraudulent app? At best, you could start receiving unwanted sales calls. If your address book is compromised, all your friends and family could start receiving unwanted spam text messages. At worst, a criminal could get your sensitive information and steal your identity.
So how do you know what you are downloading is legitimate?
- Not all storefronts are created equal - iPhone® has the App Store, Android™ has the Android™ Market, and BlackBerry® has the AppWorld™. Some storefronts review each app before publishing to help ensure the app is safe and meets their development requirements. While other storefronts feel an open, less regulated storefront will foster better apps. Each has their pros and cons, so be sure to pick a phone with a storefront that fits your needs.
- Make sure you are downloading an application from a legitimate source - If you are downloading an app, confirm that it is authorized by the business it claims to be representing. For instance, if you are going to download an app for the menu to your favorite restaurant, double check it. Visit the restaurant’s website. Generally, a company will make reference of their smartphone application there.
- Ensure the app company is listed as the publisher or seller – For example, you should probably avoid downloading a banking app for a U.S. based bank if the publisher or seller is in a foreign country.
- Report suspicious applications – Storefronts will remove apps that violate their development policies. So if an app seems fraudulent or suspicious to you, report it.
- Trust your instincts – As with many things, if something doesn’t seem right to you, it is likely a scam. Remember to trust your instincts.
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For more information on staying safe while online, visit charter.com/security.
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