NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In recent weeks a slew of fake retail apps have popped up in Apple’s app store.

As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported, hundreds of fake apps have slipped through Apple’s vetting process.

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“I’m not surprised at all,” Kayla Jacobson said. “They can hide behind their computer and find ways to just take money from people. It’s easy.”

It was a big surprise for others.

“I had no idea until you just mentioned it to me, so that’s a concern,” Meghan Alexander said.

Dan Ackerman with CNET said it’s important to do your homework.

“For the holiday season we’re seeing a lot more now, they seem to be overwhelming even Apple’s ability to screen them out before they go up,” he said.

The first line of defense is to check who published the app.

“If I go to the overstock app, the real one, it says it’s by One of the fake ones that we’re talking about, it’s by overstock inc,” Ackerman explained.

Since the names are so similar, it’s not completely clear which app is legit. Next you can look at reviews and ratings.

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“If I look down here at the customer ratings, I see there’s a lot of ratings, and reviews for this overstock app. Lifetime there’s over 10,000 of them, and it got an average of 4 stars. To me that’s a sign that this is a legitimate app from the legitimate company,” he said.

When you go to the fake app.

“There are no customer ratings, and there are no reviews here. In fact this app was only published a few days ago,” he said.

It’s also a good idea to take a close look at the app description and instructions.

“If there are a lot of types and mistakes and it doesn’t seem like they were written by someone who’s first language is English, that’s a big red flag right there,” Ackerman said.

Another safeguard is to go directly to the website of the store that you’re interested in.

Apple responded to a request for comment on Monday afternoon, telling CBS2 that they; “take their security very seriously and removed the offending apps, and will continue to be vigilant.”

If you’re downloading android apps, Ackerman said you need to research even more. He said there is less vetting on android app stores than at Apple.

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