Android warning: Downloading these Google Play Store apps will be costly

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Android is, once again, under the spotlight and this time it’s due to apps which can leave users facing huge bills for little in return. The latest warning comes via the security team at Avast who say they have found numerous apps which are targeting Play Store fans with fleeceware.

Some of the apps, which still remain on Google’s online marketplace, have been downloaded over one million times.

One of the most popular – called Skins, Mods, Maps for Minecraft PE – offers numerous add-ons for the iconic game and it sounds harmless enough.

However, once installed it then charges disproportionately high amount for the service which can leave users with a very nasty bill. Signing up for this app costs a whopping $30 (£22) per week – that’s over $1,500 (£1,10) a year.

Avast says that fleeceware, is a relatively new category of cybercrime. The concept is pretty simple as it offers users an attractive service, usually for a short free trial period of three days. After that, the application will automatically and subtly begin charging excessive costs, up to $30 per week.

Fraudsters expect the user to forget about the installed application and its short trial, or fail to notice the real subscription cost. The reviews will have many 1 or 5 star reviews but nothing in the middle, with a low star rating overall.

READ MORE: All Android users can now save money on games, apps and movies in the UK Google Play Store

“Scams of this nature take advantage of those who don’t always read the fine print details of every app they download. In this case, young children are particularly at risk because they may think they are innocently downloading a Minecraft accessory, but not understand or may not pay attention to the details of the service to which they are subscribing,” noted Ondrej David, malware analysis team lead at Avast. “We urge our customers to remain vigilant when downloading any app from unknown developers and to always carefully research user reviews and billing agreements before subscribing.”

If you have installed an app that you suspect may be fleeceware, it is not enough to uninstall the app; you must also cancel the subscription directly in the Play Store.

Do this, head to the Play Store, then tap on the Menu in the upper left corner and go to Subscription. Here you can see what you signed for and cancel anything you no longer want.

Here’s a list of the latest apps causing concern

APP: Skins, Mods, Maps for Minecraft PE
DOWNLOADS: Over 1 million
COST: $30 a week

APP:Skins for Roblox
DOWNLOADS: Over 1 million
COST: $30 a week

APP: Live Wallpapers HD & 3D Background
DOWNLOADS: Over 100,000
COST: $90 a year

APP: MasterCraft for Minecraft
DOWNLOADS: Over 1 million
COST: $30 a week

APP: Master for Minecraft
DOWNLOADS: Over 1 million
COST: $30 a week

APP: Boys and Girls Skins
DOWNLOADS: Over 1 million
COST: $30 a week

APP: Maps Skins and Mods for Minecraft
DOWNLOADS: Over 100,000
COST: $30 a week

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