Fake ChatGPT apps: How to avoid getting scammed by AI chatbots

ChatGPT is a popular online service that lets you chat with an AI-powered bot that can generate realistic and engaging conversations on various topics. ChatGPT is free to use.

However, some unscrupulous developers have created fake ChatGPT apps that claim to offer the same functionality, but in reality, they are just here to scam you out of your money. These apps are available on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store, and they use deceptive tactics to trick users into subscribing to expensive and useless services.

How do fake ChatGPT apps work?

Fake ChatGPT apps usually offer a free trial or a free model with ads, and a paid subscription model. The free/ads model is either heavily limited (available for three days, for example) or comes with so many ad popups and distractions that it’s simply unusable. The paid model ranges from $10 a month to $300+ a year.

Some of these apps also ask for unnecessary permissions, such as access to your contacts, camera, microphone, or location. They may also collect your personal data and sell it to third parties without your consent.

The worst part is that these apps are often poorly written and implemented, which means they don’t even function as intended, regardless of whether you pay for the premium version or not. Some users have reported instances where the chatbot provides incorrect or nonsensical information, a phenomenon referred to as hallucination.

The trick is to get users to subscribe to the service, and then forget they subscribed, or think they can unsubscribe by simply uninstalling the app. Faking app reviews and comments, as well as inflating download numbers, is also part of the deception.

How to spot fake ChatGPT apps?

There are some signs that can help you identify fake ChatGPT apps and avoid getting scammed by them. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Check the app permissions. Is there a good reason why a chatbot needs to access your contacts, camera, microphone, or location? If not, don’t grant these permissions.
  • Double-check the developers. OpenAI is the developer behind ChatGPT. So, any other chatbot apps on the App Store and all chatbot apps on the Google Play Store are products of other developers. You should check their profile on the app store to see what other apps they are responsible for and find out more information about their company. If an app claims to be ChatGPT and the developer is not OpenAI, that app is not ChatGPT.
  • Check the reviews. Like most review sections, the reviews raving about the app will be at the top of the reviews section, giving you the idea that most people enjoy the app. But many fake app creators pay for positive app reviews. Be sure to check out the one and two-star reviews, as these tend to be the most honest reviews.
  • Compare the prices. ChatGPT is free to use online. If an app charges you a hefty fee for using a chatbot service, it’s probably a scam.
  • Look for red flags. Some fake ChatGPT apps claim to use GPT-4, which is a nonexistent technology. Others use generic names like ChatOn or Genie that have nothing to do with ChatGPT.

How to stay safe online?

If you have already downloaded a fake ChatGPT app, you should follow these steps to protect yourself:

  • Uninstall the app from your device.
  • Cancel your subscription following your vendor’s guidelines. Simply deleting the app will not cancel your subscription.
  • Check your bank statements for any unauthorized charges and report them to your bank.
  • Change your passwords for any accounts that may have been compromised by the app.
  • Report the app to Google or Apple using their feedback mechanisms.

Avoid getting scammed by fake ChatGPT apps in the future

  • Use only trusted sources for downloading apps, such as Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
  • Read the app description carefully before installing it.
  • Research the app and its developer online before downloading it.
  • Use antivirus software on your device and keep it updated.

ChatGPT is a fun and innovative service that lets you chat with an AI bot. However, you should be careful of fake ChatGPT apps that try to scam you out of your money. By following these tips, you can spot and avoid these apps and enjoy chatting with ChatGPT safely online.