Sophos, a prominent cybersecurity provider, has recently uncovered a series of fraudulent apps posing as legitimate chatbots powered by ChatGPT technology. These deceptive apps have emerged on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, exploiting users and generating thousands of dollars in revenue each month. The findings are documented in the latest report by Sophos X-Ops titled “‘FleeceGPT’ Mobile Apps Target AI-Curious to Rake in Cash”.
These fake apps offer minimal functionality and bombard users with constant ads in their free versions. Unsuspecting users are then coerced into subscribing to expensive plans, costing them hundreds of dollars annually. This type of scam, dubbed “fleeceware” by Sophos, takes advantage of the current interest in AI and chatbot technologies. Users searching for ChatGPT-related apps become targets for these fraudulent schemes.
Sean Gallagher, Principal Threat Researcher at Sophos, commented on the situation, noting that scammers always exploit the latest trends and technologies to profit. He emphasized that fleeceware apps like these flood users with advertisements until they subscribe to a paid plan, relying on users’ lack of attention to costs or their forgetfulness regarding the subscription.