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real ChatGPT on a laptop vs. fake ChatGPT app on a smartphone
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Security & privacy

Fake ChatGPT apps in Apple’s Mac Store

You can have some fun with ChatGPT and even use it to help craft emails, recipes and essays, but there’s one thing you should never do with any chat app.

No surprise here: The hype around ChatGPT has made it a prime target for hackers and scammers. Several fake OpenAI/ChatGPT apps were found on the Mac App Store. The apps mimic the logo and color schemes used by OpenAI. Here’s what you need to know.

Cracks in Apple’s armor

Cybersecurity researcher Alex Kleber, aka, Privacy1St did some digging into fake ChatGPT apps on the Mac App Store (it’s not impervious!) and hit paydirt. The apps mimic the logos and color schemes used by OpenAI.

Here’s a list of what he found, but there are undoubtedly more out there:

  • Chat Bot: Powered by GPT-4
  • Chat Bot- AI Writing Assistant
  • AI Chat Bot- Writing Assistant
  • Chatbot Ai Powered by GPT-4

Notice the inconsistencies: Chatbot is written with or without spaces depending on the app, and the “I” in “AI” is written in uppercase and lowercase.

Holding you hostage

Here are some of the dirty tricks these apps are pulling off:

  • The app demands you review it immediately after subscribing and each time you ask a question. This helps to rank it up faster in the App Store. 
  • There’s no close button. You hit a paywall that forces you to subscribe and the only way out is to force-close the application. This is especially dangerous to the less tech-savvy or elderly folks who don’t know how to do this. 
  • Some developers create multiple accounts to get around the App Store’s limits and pump out tons of malicious apps with the same functionality. Two app developers, Pixelsbay and Parallelword, share the same parent company in Pakistan and the apps have 99% of the same code. Imagine that!

Subscription scam

Let’s make this clear: ChatGPT is free to use. There’s a $20 subscription model that gets you faster response times and priority access, but it’s not mandatory.

The fake ChatGPT apps are asking for money upfront with no free options and even promoting weekly subscriptions. Red flag city!

While these fake apps go for your wallet, others lock you out of your accounts.

If it’s this bad on Apple’s store …

You can bet that the Google Play Store is rife with apps like this. Some might even be from the same shady developers. 

Here’s another thing you need to know to avoid getting scammed: ChatGPT doesn’t have an app. It’s only available online at

How to stay safe

  • Keep your devices updated to get the latest security patches.
  • Only download apps from official app stores. Always go to the official source and double-check that you are installing the correct app. Even though bad apps still get through, this is still the safest way to go.
  • Watch out for apps that use a similar logo to other popular apps or have similar functions. Also, check reviews to see if others are warning about suspicious activity.
  • Pay attention to permissions. Stay away if an app wants full access to your text messages or notifications. 
  • Have trustworthy antivirus software on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan of TotalAV Internet Security for only $19 at That’s over 85% off the regular price!

Keep reading

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The latest ChatGPT advances are getting crazy

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