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Security & privacy

Get this Chinese app out of your smartphone right now

It’s no secret: TikTok gathers a ton of data on its users and sends the information straight back to the Chinese government. The app is a threat to your privacy and security even if you don’t have it installed. Here’s how to avoid TikTok’s clutches.

TikTok is not the only Chinese app you have to worry about. A shopping app downloaded by millions of Americans comes with all sorts of sneaky tricks to keep an eye on you.

People love Temu

Have you heard of Temu? It’s the second most popular shopping app right now, only surpassed by the mighty Amazon. Temu must be buying a ton of ad space because we’re seeing it everywhere.

Temu had a quiet launch last September and currently holds a 4.6-star rating on both the Apple Store and Google Play store. It’s been downloaded more than 24 million times.

But Temu is dangerous.

Here’s a shocker for Temu shoppers

Temu bypasses your phone’s security to do the following:

  • Monitor activity on other apps
  • Track your notifications
  • Reads private messages
  • Change settings

As you shop, Temu quietly bypasses any firewall and gains access to your location and can track you. It gets full access to all your contacts, calendars and photo albums, plus your social media accounts, chats and texts.

In other words, literally everything. To make matters worse, Temu does not support two-factor authentication (2FA). That makes your account so much easier for thieves to breach. No Bueno!

RELATED: Study: Most Americans believe they’re being tracked

Too good to be true

Temu’s tagline — “Shop like a billionaire” — refers to the rock-bottom prices on everything from clothing to home goods to electronics. Just like Amazon, you can find virtually anything here.

You can get wireless headphones for $15, a doorbell camera for $12 and memory cards for $3. Crazy, right?

Temu says it keeps prices low by cutting out the middleman and allowing Chinese vendors to sell directly to consumers. And that makes sense when you consider this: Though the company is based in the U.S., Temu is owned by PDD Holdings, which is based in China. And that company also owns Pinduoduo, which was recently removed from the Google Play store for containing malware.

As you should expect with any price that’s too good to be true, the quality and service are dubious at best.

Dirt-cheap electronics should raise alarm bells, but if you need more proof, check out its abysmal 1.5-star rating at the Better Business Bureau. Complaints vary from faulty or damaged products to unfulfilled orders. You’re gonna get a bunch of junk (if you get anything at all).

You might be able to shop like a billionaire, but you get what you pay for.

Do this now

Play it safe. Stay away from Temu.

Delete apps from your Android phone:

  • Long-press an app, then tap App Info > Uninstall
  • Go to Settings > Apps & Notifications to see a list of your apps and delete them the same way. 
  • Or open the Google Play Store app and navigate to Menu > My apps & games. Tap on the app and hit Uninstall
  • NOTE: Samsung and OnePlus phones have an Uninstall option under the app shortcuts menu. 

Delete apps from your iPhone

  • Touch and hold an app, then tap Remove App > Delete App > Delete
  • Or use the App Library, introduced in iOS 14, to get a curated list of your apps grouped by category. Swipe past the last page of your Home screen to access it. Tap and hold the app, then select Delete App > Delete

Keep reading

See what’s eating up storage on your phone

Do you use these popular apps with ties to China?

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