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Users pay hundreds of euros for simple Android apps

Users of simple Android apps such as a QR scanner or a compass accidentally pay hundreds of euros after the trial period.

It is not unusual in the Google Play Store that you download an app and may try a few days before you have to pay. If you remove the app from your device before the end of the trial period and let the app developer know that you do not want to use the app, you will not be charged. However, if you do not, the amount for the app is automatically debited from your account. Usually, however, it is a few euros.

But a new category of apps misuses this possibility in the Google Play Store. The app developers write off huge amounts after the trial period. A simple app to read QR codes cost 104.99 euros after three days and the ‘Professional GIF Maker’ app even 214.99 euros, discovered the cybersecurity company Sophos.

Although these apps do not officially violate the Play Store rules, Sophos has passed on 15 of these apps to Google, 14 of which have been removed by Google.

20 million times

However, Sophos found nine apps that charge sky-high prices after the trial period, which the company says are still online. The nine apps together have been downloaded more than 20 million times.

Sophos says that these apps operate in a gray area and therefore cannot bear the title of malware. They operate ‘on the edge’ of the Google Play Store rules. The company, therefore, invented the name Fleeceware for this category of apps.

Sophos Group plc is a British security software and hardware company. Sophos develops products for communication endpoint, encryption, network security, email security, mobile security and unified threat management.

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