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Fake Alexa set-up app scammed users into handing over personal info

UPDATE: Amazon contacted Trusted Reviews to tell us the app has now been pulled from the App Store.

Original story continues below…

A fake Amazon Alexa set-up app, which asked for the device serial number and the user’s home IP address, received scores of downloads on Apple’s App Store, it has emerged.

The ‘Setup for Amazon Alexa’ app climbed in to the top 10 utilities apps on the App Store, after successfully fooling people into thinking they were downloading official companion app for the personal assistant.

9to5Mac reports the app rose as high as 60th overall in the free apps chart, while it reached number 6 in the utilities section.

At the time of writing, it appears the report has prompted Apple to take action, because we were unable to locate it on the App Store. The app is made by a company called One World Software and it seems to be a data grab that – judging by the reviews – many App Store users fell for hook, line and sinker.

Related: Amazon Alexa guide

It isn’t clear yet whether any damage has been done to those who installed and served up their IP address and serial number to the company on a silver platter. However, it is clear that plenty of damage could be done with that information.

A park with a curved walkway with trees and people all around

Image credit 9to5Mac

The scam has been timed perfectly, considering the sheer number of people who will be setting up Alexa-powered devices they received over the festive period.

Such was the demand on Christmas Day, there were widespread Alexa outages across Europe, seemingly as a result of people keenly setting up their new Echo devices on Christmas morning.

Of course, an app is required to set up the Alexa assistant, but the official App Store entry is simply called Amazon Alexa. Perhaps in their excitement, new Echo owners simply didn’t check they were downloading the real deal.

Have you fallen victim to the fake app scam, or others? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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