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May 20, 2023

Just when you thought it was safe

It seems that scam apps are emerging on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, promising a taste of OpenAI’s chatbot service, ChatGPT, for free. But soon after you've nibbled, they start charging subscription fees, nickeling and diming you to death.

Called Fleeceware, this malware’s trickiness lies in its seeming innocence. The apps don’t behave like malware, making it hard to expel them. They're sneaky, submitting themselves for review to Apple and Google without full disclosure on subscription pricing. After approval, they can change their tune without any adjustments to the app's engineering.

To combat these sneaky scammers, remember these four tips:

  1. Check your source: Download apps directly from trusted providers. In this case, it's OpenAI’s website.

  2. Free trials aren't always free: Scrutinize the fine print before committing. Listen to “That’s in my Eula?” the Podcast from the Source Media network.

  3. Vet app reviews: Not all reviews are genuine. Seek detailed reviews for the real scoop.

  4. Listen to your instincts: If it doesn't feel right, it likely isn't.

Remember, OpenAI offers paid versions of GPT and ChatGPT, but also a free option on their own website. The scam artists are exploiting the gray area between public intrigue and understanding of this service so don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes.

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