Avoid these unethical iOS apps that can cost you a shocking amount of money

Avoid these unethical iOS apps that can cost you a shocking amount of money
We have previously reported about some Android apps that unethically charge users with more money for services widely available for free. Now, Sophos Labs security firm draws our attention to some apps, targeted to iOS users, that can do the same.

The apps in question are not malicious apps, per se, but they can cost users serious amounts of money and therefore, are called “fleeceware”. The security company has found 30 apps that they have labeled with the mentioned above term. These are apps whose developers do not have the purest of intentions and use manipulative tactics to earn more money.



One of the tactics used in such apps is complicated cancellation options - a loophole in cancellation policies allow developers to issue specific cancellation guidelines with confusing steps. So, even if you have deleted the app from your iPhone, the service is not cancelled and starts to get automatically charged monthly or yearly. Sometimes, the cancellation steps are not clear to the user.



Additionally, the report mentions that such apps may encourage users to install them through aggressive online advertising and then offer in-app purchases for basic features, not for additional extras.



Fortunately, users can protect themselves against such unethical money-making by following several simple steps:

  • Only install apps from official app stores (the possibility for unscrupulous apps to be reported is high on those stores)
  • Always take close look at what app you are installing and carefully familiarize yourself with it
  • Know how to cancel subscriptions - deleting the app is not enough and every app can have different ways to cancel it

iPhone users can check for existing subscriptions in Settings - Your name - Subscriptions. If you don’t find a subscription in the list, you can check Apple’s support for additional information.



Here is a full list by the fleeceware apps found by Sophos’ research:

  • Seer App:Face, Horoscope, Palm
  • Selfie Art – Photo Editor
  • Palmistry Decoder
  • Lucky Life – Future Seer
  • Life Palmistry – AI Palm & Tag
  • Picsjoy-Cartoon Effect Editor
  • Aging seer – Faceapp,Horoscope
  • Face Aging Scan-AI Age Camera
  • Face Reader – Horoscope Secret
  • Horoscope Secret
  • CIAO – Live Video Chat
  • Astro Time & Daily Horoscope
  • Video Recorder / Reaction
  • Crazy Helium Funny Face Editor
  • Banuba: Face Filters & Effects
  • QR Code Reader & Barcode PRO
  • Max Volume Booster
  • Face Reading – Horoscope 2020
  • Forecast Master 2019
  • mSpy Lite Phone Family Tracker
  • Fortunescope: Palm Reader 2019
  • Zodiac Master Plus – Palm Scan
  • WonderKey-Cartoon Avatar Maker
  • Avatar Creator – Cartoon Emoji
  • iMoji – Cartoon Avatar Emojis
  • Life Insight-Palm & Animal Face
  • Curiosity Lab-Fun Encyclopedia
  • Quick Art: 1-Tap Photo Editor
  • Astroline astrology, horoscope
  • Celeb Twin – Who you look like
  • My Replica – Celebrity Like Me



In total, revenue from all those apps is estimated around $4.5 million in the USA.

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