In recent weeks, App stores have been flooded by hundreds of fake ChatGPT apps, trying to pass themselves off as the real deal as scammers try to take advantage of OpenAI’s hugely popular ChatGPT program.
Some of these clone apps have millions of downloads and high star ratings on Google’s Play Store and MacOS App Store. Despite being scams, some of these applications are raking in huge profits.
How are These Clone Apps Scamming People?
First of all, they are tricking a lot of unsuspecting people into thinking that they are downloading the official OpenAI ChatGPT app. A lot of these apps are using logos that are almost identical to, if not a total copy of OpenAI’s logo, using the same color scheme and of course using the GTP acronym, making it look like the real thing.
When you click the button to download the app, you are hit with a paywall that pops up with no button to close the window. It offers a paid plan and a ‘free trial.’ With no way to close the window, you have to click on something, right? In the fine print under the free offer, says something to the effect that once the free trial is over it will start to charge the paid rate. A lot of people don’t see, or read the fine print and don’t realize they are being charged for a service that they thought was free, until after it’s happened.
For most scam apps, getting people to download, select a free trial option (that turns into a charge after a few days) is the extent of the scam. Even if everyone realizes and cancels after the first charge, multiply that by 10,000, 100,000 or even a million downloads and you see where they are making money. But some of these programs can also carry malware or spyware.
So you might be thinking: How can this app have such a high star rating if it’s a scam?
Once you’ve downloaded the App, and clicked on the free trial because it seemingly gave you no other choice, you immediately get a pop up window asking you to rate the program before you are able to use it. These programs also tend to require you to rate it after every interaction as well. This is a tactic used to quickly achieve higher rankings in the app stores.
How to Tell the Difference Between Chat GTP and Copy Cats
It’s disconcerting to think that such obvious scams are being perpetuated on the “trusted” app Stores with little to no oversight.
When it comes to downloading any app, do your research. The void during the time when OpenAI did not have an IOS app allowed a flood of “clone” apps that seems to have crowded out the real thing. But now you can enjoy direct use of ChatGPT in an app!