Don’t download any AI apps before reading this


AI chatbots are one of the hottest tools being discussed right now. Like OpenAI, Google, Microsoft and others, many companies are hopping on the bandwagon and making their version of chatbots. However, with an invention comes a new way for cybercriminals to attack you. 

Now, crooks are turning to fake AI chatbot apps to swindle you.  Let’s dive into what to look for and how to avoid being tricked. 

What’s wrong with AI chatbot apps? 

According to a report from the cybersecurity firm Sophos, scammers have been creating fake apps claiming to be just like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and overflowing the app stores with them in hopes people will buy into them. Most of the apps are free to download, although they won’t even let you use most of their features unless you buy a subscription that can be as high as $69.99 per month. 

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These scammers trick people into downloading the apps with heavy advertising and claiming that the apps are free with the same features as more popular chatbots like ChatGPT and Bing Chat. Plus, they will create fake 4- and 5-star reviews to convince people the apps are legit. However, the comments on these 4 -and 5-star reviews are typically super short and vague, while plenty of other comments explain how the apps don’t work at all. 

What are some fake apps? 

Here is a list of some of the apps out there that are fake versions trying to pose as real AI chatbot apps. 

Chat GBT 

Chat GPBT fake chatbot

Chat GBT prevented users from using any of its services after just a few attempts, prompting people to pay. (Sophos)

This fake app was posing as an alternative to ChatGPT. However, it came filled with ads and prevented users from using any of its services after just three attempts, prompting people to pay $10 per month or $30 per year to use it. Even when people paid, comments said that the app would mostly fail to respond to questions asked and constantly show advertisements. The app has since been taken down from the Google Play Store. 

MORE: YOUR SECRETS ARE NOT SO SAFE WITH CHATBOTS LIKE CHATGPT 

AI Chatbot Assistant — Ask AI 

Picture of AIChat app scam

AI Chatbot Assistant limits users to just three inputs per day before locking them out and urging them to pay for trial use. (Sophos)

Another fake app that, unfortunately, is still on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store is AI Chatbot Assistant. Like the Chat GBT app that was taken down, AI Chatbot Assistant limits users to three inputs per day before locking them out and prompting them to enroll in a free three-day trial, which turns into a $6-per-week subscription fee. 

When asked a question, it will respond with a brief description and a “Read More” link that prompts people to pay for a monthly or annual subscription. Some users have also said the app is “one big ad hub” and “only spats out gibberish.” 

MALICIOUS ANDROID SPYWARE DETECTED IN OVER 100 POPULAR APPS

AI Chat GBT — Open Chatbot App 

Picture of AI Chat GBT app scam

This fake chatbot has a free version that is limited to only four prompts before prompting users to pay to subscribe. (Sophos)

This fake chatbot has a free version limited to only four prompts before asking the user to pay a subscription fee. When asked, it would hardly answer any questions sufficiently and was loaded with advertisements. Luckily, this one has been taken down from the Google Play Store.

Chat AI Ask Chatbot Assistant 

Chat AI app scam

The Chat AI Ask Chatbot Assistant will take time before letting users close out of the prompt to pay. (Sophos)

This is another app that is still live on the App Store, and it has even gone as far as trying to mimic the logo of OpenAI. One suspicious thing this app does is ask to track your activity across multiple other sites. 

It also constantly prompts users to pay a subscription fee of $8 per week and will take a few minutes before allowing users to close out of the prompt. Plus, the name of the app is constantly changing. It has already managed to call itself AIChatChabot, Pocket AI Chat and Writing BOT Pocket AI. 

Genie — AI Chatbot 

Genie AI app

Genie AI users only get four free questions per day without opting in. (Sophos)

Genie AI is also still on the App Store and shows similar qualities to these other fleeceware apps. Not only will it ask to track you upon installation, but it also will prompt you to rate the app before you even begin using it. It doesn’t hesitate to ask you to enroll in subscription fees either, giving you the option of either doing a three-day free trial and then charging $7 per week or opting in for an annual $70 subscription fee. Users get only four free questions per day without opting into the trial. 

AI Chatbot: Open Chat AI 

Open Chat AI

You’ll constantly get prompted to pay for subscriptions or look at ads on this app. (Sophos)

This app originally installed itself under the name “AI Smith” and has also used the name “AI Chatbot – Open Chat Writer.” The screenshots on the App Store also don’t look like the actual app once it installs, and it has a five-message limit per day without a subscription. Plus, you’ll constantly get prompted to pay for subscriptions, rate the app or look at unwanted ads. 

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What red flags should I be looking out for? 

Scammers are always going to find ways around the rules. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t avoid them by using your common sense and following some of my helpful tips. 

A NEW MALICIOUS MALWARE IS SPECIFICALLY TARGETING IPHONES

Don’t download from a third-party site 

Scammers will often try to create fake websites that look real, hoping people will download these apps from there. However, you should never download an app that is not directly available from the Apple Store or the Google Play Store. Although some apps can slip through the cracks, you’re much less likely to get something fake from these platforms than from a third-party site. 

Example of trial charge in AI app

Never download an app that’s not directly from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. (Sophos)

Avoid chatbots from smaller brands 

As of now, I think you should avoid using chatbots that aren’t from the major companies we know about, like OpenAI, Bing and Google. These bigger tech companies are guaranteed to keep you much safer, and you don’t want to risk anything with a smaller brand until it’s proven that the brand is legit. 

Check the developer information 

Check the developer details of the app. Legitimate apps are typically developed by established companies or well-known developers. Look for contact information, website links and a history of other reputable apps developed by the same entity. 

Official website or source 

Visit the official website of the AI chatbot provider (e.g., OpenAI, Google, Microsoft) and check if they have released an official app. They often provide information about their official apps and links to download them from trusted sources. 

BEWARE OF THE FAKE CHATGPT PLUGIN THAT’S STEALING YOUR FACEBOOK LOGIN 

Don’t give away personal information 

Regardless of which chatbot you use, you should never be handing over your personal information like your contact, banking or Social Security information. Even the big tech companies don’t need that from you, so keep all that information to yourself. 

Example of an AI conversation on an AI app

Don’t give away your contact, banking or other sensitive personal information. (Sophos)

Always read reviews 

Before downloading an app, make sure you read multiple reviews — and not just the positive ones. As we mentioned before, scammers can always create fake reviews to make an app seem legit, so keep your wits about yourself and use your judgment and my tips to determine whether you think an app is real or fake. If you have any doubts at all, then it’s best not to download. 

Pay attention to permissions and requests 

Pay attention to the permissions requested by the app during installation. Be cautious if an app asks for excessive permissions that seem unrelated to its functionality. Grant only the necessary permissions required for the app to function. 

Keep up with regular updates 

Keep your device’s operating system, apps and security software up to date. Updates often contain bug fixes and security patches that help protect against known vulnerabilities. 

Have good antivirus software on all your devices  

Keeping hackers out of your devices can be prevented if you have good antivirus software installed. Having antivirus software on your devices will make sure you are stopped from clicking on any potential malicious links which may install malware on your devices, allowing hackers to gain access to your personal information.  

See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices by heading to CyberGuy.com/LockUpYourTech   

FREE ANTIVIRUS: SHOULD YOU USE IT? 

Kurt’s key takeaways 

We’ve seen plenty of circumstances where scammers create fake apps, so just be careful when you’re looking into trying a new one. Opt for the bigger, more legit companies before anything else, and make sure you’re always reading and doing as much research as you can before hitting that download button. 

Have you ever downloaded an app from clicking a link instead of going to the App Store or Google Play? Let us know by writing us at CyberGuy.com/Contact.

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