Cyber Monday has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year with this year’s sales topping expectations by reaching a record $3.39 billion. More than 85% of online shoppers do at least some of their buying on a smartphone and consequently, thieves are exploiting those devices to steal people’s personal information.

One way cybercriminals are doing this is through malicious apps. Most people are unaware that what appears to be a legitimate app from a trusted brand and downloaded from the app store on their iPhone or Android device may actually be fake.

At any given time there may be hundreds of these phony apps all sporting well-known brand names like Payless, Dillard’s, and Christian Dior. In some cases, these apps give consumers a complete shopping experience that includes browsing, managing a cart, purchasing, and even provide a phony order number. The difference is that after sending their personal and credit card information, victims will never receive their items.

Consumers should be wary of any apps from a major brand. Additionally, they should be careful of what emoji keyboards they install as most are developed in China and by default given access to everything you type. While both Apple and Google scan their app stores for malicious code and developers that tend to spam apps, for every malicious app removed another takes its place.

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