Do Your Homework Before Downloading a Smartphone App
Hard to believe, but it’s been years since mobile phones were used just to make a phone call. Technology has revolutionized mobile devices, and many activities which were once performed on your desktop can now be conducted when you are on the move. The introduction of smart phone apps can make life even easier, putting dozens of useful tools in the palm of your hand. But BBB is warning consumers to make sure the apps they download don’t take more information than they need to do the job.
Goldenshores Technologies has agreed to settle the FTC charges. The settlement goes on to prohibit the company from misrepresenting how users' information is collected and shared and how much control users have over the way the information is shared. It also requires defendants to obtain consumers’ affirmative express consent before collecting, using and sharing information.
“It’s not always easy to tell if an app is going to collect your information or how it will use it”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “With over 1 billion smartphone subscribers, devices are a goldmine for identity thieves.”
BBB reminds consumers that some apps may be designed to steal user data or gain access to private information, and that taking safety precautions is key when operating a smartphone. BBB advises consumers to:
Research companies and apps before downloading, including industry publications and user reviews;
Opt out of location sharing when prompted;
Periodically check all privacy settings on your smart phone and keep them set as high as you can without altering the functions of your apps (some apps, like maps and compasses, need geo-location information in order to work properly);
Update your apps when a new version comes out (your phone should alert you); often app updates fix “bugs” from earlier versions;
Delete apps you no longer use from your phone.
For information on mobile apps for children, check out BBB’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit.
For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org. To report a fraud or unscrupulous business practices, please call the BBB Hotline: (903)581-8373.