Beware of Fleeceware: Exploitative ChatGPT Apps Scamming Users for Profit

Exploitative "Fleeceware" Apps Profiting from Fake ChatGPT Scams

It is advised to promptly uninstall any app labeled as a ChatGPT app on your phone. These apps are fraudulent, as OpenAI has recently revealed the development of an official iOS app and announced plans to release a ChatGPT app for Android users.

This situation exposes the fact that all previous ChatGPT apps available were fake creations by scammers, intending to deceive users. Additionally, a cybersecurity website has reported that numerous online ChatGPT applications are currently defrauding individuals and generating substantial profits.

Based on recent research, certain applications engage in deceptive practices by overcharging users. These applications utilize a technique known as ChatGPT to create chatbots. Sophos, a cybersecurity company, has identified similar free applications resembling ChatGPT on Google Play and the Apple App Store. However, these apps offer limited functionality and bombard users with intrusive advertisements. Unbeknownst to users, they are coerced into expensive subscription plans.

Sophos classifies these applications as "fleeceware" due to their exploitative nature, targeting users for financial gain. They persistently display advertisements until individuals succumb and purchase expensive memberships.

Also Read: Google vs OpenAI: 10 tasks Bard can do which ChatGPT cannot.

Sean Gallagher, Principal Threat Researcher at Sophos, explains that with the rising interest in AI and chatbots, users are increasingly relying on the Apple App and Google Play Stores to download anything resembling ChatGPT. Exploiting this trend, fake applications employ aggressive advertising strategies to entice users into subscribing.

The study focused on five of these fleeceware applications that claimed to utilize the ChatGPT algorithm. For instance, an app called "Chat GBT" shamelessly exploited the ChatGPT name to gain prominence on Google Play and the App Store. Despite basic ChatGPT functionality being freely available online through OpenAI, these deceptive apps charged customers ranging from $10 per month to $70 per year.

Customers of the iOS version of "Chat GBT," also known as Ask AI Assistant, were charged $6 per week or an astonishing $312 annually after a three-day trial period. This cunning approach allowed the developers to earn $10,000 in just one month. Another fleeceware-like program named Genie convinced users to pay $7 weekly or $70 yearly, generating an astonishing $1 million in the previous month.

Although some of the ChatGPT fleeceware applications mentioned in the study have been removed, more are likely to surface. Raising awareness is crucial as the best defense against such scams. Users should be mindful of the existence of these applications and exercise caution by thoroughly reviewing subscription terms before committing.

Post a Comment