June 10, 2023

A software firm, Dr.Web, has spotted 3 Android apps that have over 20 million downloads in total, and their goal is to scam you, basically. These apps were still available via the Play Store at the time of writing this article.

These three shady Android apps with over 20 million downloads may try to scam you

All three of these apps are activity tracking applications, by the way. The apps in question are ‘Lucky Step’, ‘WalkingJoy’, and ‘Lucky Habit: health tracker’. These three apps have 10 million, 5 million, and 5 million downloads, respectively. You can see screenshots of their listings below.

Three shady rewards apps image 1

These apps promise to pay out cash rewards to those of you who reach certain fitness goals. The report from Dr.Web does state that those monetary rewards are usually impossible to reach, as you really need to accumulate a large number of rewards, and watch dozens of commercials in order to get the cash.

After you’re forced to watch that many ads, you’re advised to watch even more in order to speed up the process. The report says that even after going through all that, “the apps did not verify any of the payment-related data provided by users, so the chances of receiving any of the money promised from these apps are extremely small”.

These three apps likely come from the same developer

It is worth noting that all three of these apps connect with the same command and control server. That suggests that they have the same developer. It is also worth noting that such servers are usually used for sending infected software. Another thing worth noting is that earlier versions of the Lucky Step-Walking Tracker falsely said that users had the option of converting their rewards into gift cards for various stores. That functionality has been removed, but so have the accumulated rewards.

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Now, we always advise our readers to check out the comments section before installing an app, and also take the rating into consideration. A quick glance over the comments section will show you what this is really about, as shown below.

Shady rewards apps comments image 1

Another shady app was spotted

Now, Dr.Web did highlight another app, an app called ‘FitStar’. That app creates a customized weight-loss plan for 29 rubles ($0.41). The thing is, the fitness program is good for only one day, and it seems like users were not aware of that.

At the end of that 1-day trial, subscribers were automatically signed up for four days of service for an additional 980 rubles ($13.86). Full access to the program is priced at 7,000 rubles ($98.98), and the app continued to extend subscriptions every four days. That app was also still listed on the Play Store at the time of writing this article.