Mobile Shopping Apps May Not Protect Credit Card Info or Social Sec Number

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 10.20.16 AM

An FTC report found that several categories of mobile apps did not give adequate information about how personal information would be shared, or how payment disputes are handled.

Fandango and Credit Karma recently settled with FTC after they allegedly disabled a standard security process in their apps, leaving customers’ credit card information and Social Security numbers vulnerable to interception.

The FTC looked at 120 popular shopping apps from Google Play and the Apple App Store that people use to comparison shop, get store discounts and make in-store payments with their mobile devices.

The FTC’s said the apps didn’t disclose information about consumers’ potential liability for erroneous or unauthorized charges and dispute procedures.

Mobile applications are playing an increasingly wider role in business transactions, and should provide consumers with the same transparency and disclosures as reputable websites and retail outlets.

In addition, the Commission found that the apps’ privacy disclosures were vague, and reserved rights to collect, use and share consumers’ information without restriction.

Given the staff report’s findings, Connecticut Better Business Bureau recommends consumers carefully read all terms and conditions before using any mobile applications, and be aware that, in the absence of those disclosures, there is the potential for unauthorized information-sharing and problems with disputes about incorrect or fraudulent charges.