Don’t let your guard down even if you initiated contact, Nofziger warns, with, say, someone you reached out to who was advertising the sale of cute puppies. App scams don’t necessarily start inside an app. An exchange can start over the phone, through a bogus phishing email, via text or in an instant message before the person asks you to download an app.

When the con artist does, your suspicions should be heightened. The app may surreptitiously unleash malware or spyware or effectively give the person the keys to your data. Nofziger has heard from victims conned into letting scammers remotely control their phones through apps such as Team Viewer and AnyDesk.

“If you have banking information, contact information, Facebook, whatever it is on your device, they literally have access to it,” she…

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