Android Community readers are sophisticated, intelligent technology aficionados who would never be taken in by crude attempts at subterfuge. Even the ones who leave those less-than-intelligible responses in the comments section (you don’t know who you are). That said, if you should happen to, you know, know anyone who might be likely to purchase Angry Birds in the next few weeks, make sure and be extra cautious. I mean, tell them to be extra cautious. According to TechCrunch, there are unscrupulous people selling fake Rovio apps in the Android Market and refusing to refund the purchase price.
It looks like Google has already booted the dastardly “devs” out of the Market – none of the bogus apps listed by TechCrunch can be found anymore. The fakes were listed under the “ROVIO” publisher; the real Rovio is listed as “Rovio Mobile Ltd.” The copies weren’t limited to Angry Birds, either – favorites like Zombieville USA, Cut the Rope and Resident Evil were also copied. Once users installed the apps, they wouldn’t launch, and after 15 minutes the purchase can’t be refunded. There’s no word from affected users, but given how I’ve been treated by Google over malfunctioning Market videos, I’ve no double they’ll be getting a full refund and an apology.
Unfortunately, if one fake app publisher made it onto the Market, it’s likely that more will follow, and the original perpetrators will probably try again. Be wary of Market purchases in the upcoming holidays, and tell any new Android users in your family to do likewise. The best way to spot a fake app is to check the latest user reviews in the Market listing. If there aren’t any, it probably isn’t the game for which you are looking.