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The rise in the number of fake apps popping up in Play Store led to Google launching a security system called Google Play Protect which managed to remove over 700,000 malicious apps from the Play Store. It scans apps upon their entry into Google Play. But since it is a relatively new system, fake apps still manage to slip through anyway, the following steps will help you weed out a few of these.
Give the search results more than a passing glance
Most fake apps resort to using an icon quite similar to the apps they attempt to mimic, if more than one app appears in your search list, this should be your red herring. Developers tend to resort to this quick-and-easy technique to beguile users unaware of the trend of rising cases of the fake apps in the market.
App names and developer
Checking the name of the app and the that of the developer is another way to weed out the imitators and fakes. In the recent case of a fake app which attempted to mimic WhatsApp, the name the developers chose to name it was "WhatsApp Update," but the names used are often more subtle as in the case of an app which chose to imitate SwiftKey by calling itself SwiftKey Keyboard but in this case the developer name (Designer Superman) managed to throw them off their game since he actual SwiftKey app is a development by a company called SwiftKey and the app itself is owned by Microsoft.
Keeping an eye on the number of users who have installed the app before you is another way to make sure the app you're downloading legitimate, in case of popular apps like Facebook, a quick glance at the number of previous downloads will give you all the information you need to know about the legitimacy of the app. Fake apps usually do not last long enough in the store to amass enough downloads before they're removed to appear as anything but an insubstantial imitator.
The description of the app
App developers never skimp on a clear, direct explanation pertaining to the functions of the app. Irregular use of language and discrepancies in structure can be a clear indication that the app that the description belongs to is not a valid one.
App developers behind fake apps often tend to use the same screenshots that are used by the official apps that they target. But taking a closer look at the item doesn't hurt. A fake app which attempted to imitate SwiftKey decided to use the phrase "typing like flying Swift" despite managing to nail the images perfectly.
The reviews listed by the users who may have realized that the app is not a real one is the easiest way to weed out the fake apps listed in your system.