Mobile commerce apps may place personal data at risk, FTC

mobile commerce shopping
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Consumers have already expressed that they are leery about smartphone based shopping, and this may not be paranoia.

While some consumers have already started shopping over mobile commerce and many retailers and restaurants have been jumping on the bandwagon to provide apps to make that process easier than using the mobile web, recent research is starting to show that this may not be as safe as some think in terms of keeping sensitive data protected.

Even Americans who are using these shopping apps for price checks are placing their personal information at risk.

Millions of people across the country are now using various types of mobile commerce apps to be able to research products, find deals, compare prices, and even pay for the purchases that they make online or in-store. That said, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has now issued a caution to consumers to warn them that they should be much more careful and selective about the apps that they download and use. It recommended that these mobile device users research the applications more carefully to find out what data will be collected, how it will be used, and when it will be shared.

The FTC doesn’t feel that consumers are taking enough steps to protect themselves when using mobile commerce.

mobile commerce shopping coffeeAccording to the FTC regional director, William Efron, who recently spoke in Connecticut on the subject, “If consumers cannot find this information or are uncomfortable with what they find, they should look for a different app or consider taking steps to minimize their exposure by limiting the personal and financial data that they provide.”

Efron also warned consumers that while it may look as though an app is providing information about great deals, it won’t look nearly as appealing in many cases to consumers who then discover what personal information is being collected about them and how that data is being used.

The Connecticut Public Interest Research Group’s Evan Preston explained that “Online privacy and access to personal information through things like mobile shopping apps has profound implications for ordinary people.” At this time of year, when the highest amount of shopping is going on, and when mobile commerce is being used more than ever before, it is very important for consumers to start taking extra care to protect themselves and their data.

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