Beware of phony "Black Friday apps" trying to scam you


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    ROCHESTER, NY (WHAM) -- More and more, people like Chili's Karen Osterling are saying, "no thanks," to the long lines on Black Friday.

    “I usually stay home in my pajamas and shop online," Osterlin says.

    She's far from alone. With the click of a phone, you can now find those big-saving items in the palm of your hand. But while you search for deals, scammers are searching for you, hoping to trick you into giving them your information. They use fake apps and websites, that look just like the real thing.

    “If it’s something you’re not familiar with, then you want to do your research before you put anything on your phone," says Melanie McGovern with the Better Business Bureau. "Especially if it’s asking for access to your Facebook profile, any kind of payment information.”

    McGovern says it's a trend that has popped up in recent years. Sometimes, distinguishing real apps from phony ones can be tricky.

    “We know this is the time of year where scammers will spoof on popular websites," she says. "They’ll rely on a little bit of a misspelling.”

    That happened to Rochester resident Rachel Spallina.

    “It looked like it was from Amazon, it would take you to a link that looked like Amazon, and it would ask for your personal information," Spallina says. She admits, she almost entered her information but realized something seemed off.

    McGovern says you have to be diligent. Only download the app if it's from a source you trust, like Google Play or the App Store.

    “If they’re telling you to download it through Facebook or download it through another third party, that’s when you know it’s time to step back and say maybe I don’t want to do this," she said.

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