Cybersecurity company Avast found out more than 200 fraudulent fleeceware apps with hidden subscriptions or excessive subscription fees on the App Store and Google Play.

Fleeceware applications always offer a free trial period, but if the user is not attentive enough, these apps later begin to withdraw money even after deletion. Sometimes these amounts go up to $3,000 per year.

Even though the developers of fleeceware do nothing bad in terms of law, in some cases, the owners of a mobile device simply do not know how to unsubscribe from recurring payments.

SensorTower estimated that such apps had been downloaded more than 1 billion times and have generated over $400 million in revenue. The OS versions of the software have been downloaded 500 million times in total, bringing developers $365 million. With the same number of downloads on Google Play, the amount earned by developers was $38,500.

The Avast research points to the following categories of apps as being most prone to fleeceware:

  • Musical instrument apps
  • Palm readers
  • Image editors
  • Camera filters
  • Fortune tellers
  • QR code and PDF readers
  • Slime simulators

Avast also gives some tips on how to avoid fleeceware scams:

  • Be careful with free trials of less than a week;
  • Read the fine print;
  • Be skeptical of viral advertisements;
  • Shop around;
  • Secure your payments;
  • Discuss the dangers of fleeceware with your family.