What is fleeceware and how can you protect yourself from it?

Although fleeceware applications are not totally considered malware, they defraud consumers of significant sums of money once a free trial period has expired. These applications provide consumers with minimal functions and are not thought worthy of being classified as premium apps.

Additionally, fleeceware takes advantage of the fact that customers are easily used to canceling subscriptions by uninstalling the application. As a result, consumers are required to provide their payment information before being eligible for a free trial. After the free trial period expires, the user’s account is charged without warning.

Fleeceware applications often require a monthly membership fee and provide basic software features such as a compass, calculator, or QR scanner.

Is fleeceware a scam?

There is still much dispute on the subject. Fleeceware is a relatively recent concept, having been discovered in September 2019. Thus, it has not been shown conclusively that fleeceware is a hoax. This is because applications comply with almost all Play Store agreements, and charging after a free trial does not violate any Play Store restrictions.

Numerous experts say that they are not inherently fraudulent since they adhere to almost all Google standards. Additionally, the fact that the membership price would be paid at the completion of the free trial lends legitimacy to the arrangement.

Another reason it is not deemed a fraud is when it accomplishes the stated objective.

Many, though, feel the applications should not be recognized as legal and have begun uninstalling them.

Which applications are being deactivated?

Google began eliminating these dubious applications as soon as they were detected. Fourteen applications were removed, but hundreds of others were left alone because they did not violate any restrictions.

To minimize potential losses associated with the usage of Fleeceware applications, apps similar to those mentioned below should be thoroughly studied before being downloaded from Google Play.

  • Old Me
  • Camera Search By Image
  • Compass Pro
  • Professional GIF Maker
  • Pic Collage
  • QR Code Reader

How to stay away from fleeceware?

Due to Google’s tight rules, finding hazardous applications on Google Play is almost impossible. Before an application is accepted for inclusion on Google Play, it is often scanned for malware. Fleeceware is not considered malware and may thus be readily authorized.

Here are some useful ideas for avoiding fleeceware.

  1. Go through the terms and conditions

At the moment, the most efficient method of avoiding Fleeceware is to carefully read the terms and conditions of each software downloaded. Particular care should be taken with the subscription details. Once any anomalies are discovered, the software should not be installed.

  1. Do not provide payment information while signing up for a free trial

This is precisely the strategy employed by unscrupulous developers to extort money from unsuspecting users. Any effort to acquire payment information prior to providing a free trial should be refused. Users should be allowed to complete a free trial and then decide freely whether or not to purchase a subscription.

  1. Peruse user testimonials

Additionally, checking user evaluations ensures the software’s quality, since many users will have downloaded the app earlier. However, user evaluations should not always be relied upon to determine program downloads, since they may be deceptive as well.

  1. Be cautious of brief trial periods

Another point to consider is the brief trial periods. This is because the creators are aware that customers may realize the program is fleeceware and immediately cease using it.

  1. Terminate subscriptions as usual

For the majority of legal applications, deleting the app cancels the subscription immediately. However, canceling a subscription does not automatically terminate the service. It may entail additional costs, which are always specified explicitly in the application’s terms and conditions.

As such, it is critical to follow the proper procedures when canceling app subscriptions. However, certain fleeceware applications may continue to debit customers’ accounts even after they cancel their subscription.

  1. Make use of NordVPN

When users subscribe for a free trial, certain applications may access and keep their sensitive information. To circumvent this, it is critical to encrypt your data.

NordVPN is a VPN service provider that encrypts your data to prevent it from being intercepted by cyber thieves. Additionally, NordVPN unblocks websites and enables anonymous online activity at a faster rate of speed.

What if the user is a victim of fraud?

If the user has already downloaded the app and entered payment information for a free trial, the following procedures should be done to reverse the transaction and protect themselves from the fleeceware, if the app deducts an excessive amount.

Make contact with the developer

The developer should be contacted and informed of the cancellation. Contact information for the developer may be found in the app’s settings.

This may be found by opening Settings and then tapping Apps. Locate and tap the fleeceware application. On the next screen, tap App Details in the store and look for the developer’s contact information. Complaints should be sent to the developer’s email address.

Make contact with your bank

To avoid paying money to the developers, one should also notify their bank of their choice to cancel the membership. The developer’s cancellation email might serve as confirmation that they have been alerted.

It should be highlighted, however, that a bank cannot recover cash already lost to developers, but may assist in preventing future losses.

Remove the application

Remove the app from all devices on which it has been installed. It is critical to deter friends and family members from installing it on their devices.

Additionally, by reporting suspicious applications to appropriate authorities when they are discovered, the Google Play store becomes a safer environment.

Conclusion

Without the many applications that fuel them, mobile devices are constrained. As a result, consumers of mobile devices cannot live without applications. It is, however, rather crippling when the applications that are meant to power them are malevolent.

To prevent this, mobile device owners must exercise caution while installing applications on their devices, particularly expensive ones. Fleeceware is an example of one of these frauds that may be prevented by following the measures outlined above.

You may consider using a VPN service provider, such as NordVPN to ensure your online privacy. Additionally, this VPN provider is compatible with Android, iOS, and desktop operating systems such as Windows and Mac. As a result, you can ensure the complete safety of your online information across all of your devices.

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