Scam Alert: Check the privacy policy for holiday-themed apps

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 3:20 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(WNDU) - Some holiday-themed apps that seem like innocent fun may actually be keeping track of your personal data or charging you hidden fees.

There are a lot of apps that could put you and your family at risk, despite being exciting or appealing.

“They’re holiday-themed apps where children can chat live with Santa, or they can light a menorah or watch a live Santa feed with live reindeer,” explains Jan Diaz, Vice President of the Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Indiana. “It’s exciting things, they can track Santa on his sleigh for Christmas Eve. Or even some of these apps they can relay their holiday wish list and all of that fun stuff.”

Unfortunately, downloading these apps without doing more research could mean falling victim to a scam.

What makes the apps dangerous is what they have hidden in their privacy policy. The apps may appear free on Apple’s App Store or Google Play, but could have terms and conditions that you may not agree with. This could include allowing scammers access to things on your phone, iPad or computer that can compromise your personal information.

The BBB says these holiday-themed apps could also contain malware or include steep fees that you may not know about.

“Be wary of the free apps because sometimes they can contain more than advertising. Sometimes there’s a nominal fee, so the person is signing up for a $100 fee or $200 fee without being aware,” explains Diaz.

While many of us don’t like to read the privacy policies that apps have in place, it’s a must if you want to avoid scammers. You should be on the lookout for what information is going to be collected by the app and if there are any fees you’ll be charged with for using it.

You can do additional research on the app before downloading it. A quick Google search for the app name plus the word “scam” can determine if others are reporting issues with the app you want to download. You can also find reports about scam apps by checking the Better Business Bureau’s tracker at