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Fake BBM Android app fools thousands, Google pulls it

A fake BlackBerry Messenger Android app on Google Play fooled hundreds of thousands before it was taken down.

Excited about getting back in touch with your BBM chums on your Android phone? Hold it just one second there, because a fake BlackBerry Messenger has appeared on Google Play and fooled hundreds of thousands before it was taken down.

Remember, folks: don't download an app or any software unless you're sure it's official.

The fake app is called 'blackberry messenger bbm', created by a developer called RIM. But the folks who make BlackBerry phones are no longer called Research in Motion or RIM: the company changed its name in January.

More than 100,000 people downloaded the app, presenting them with a screen promising the app would start working on 27 June. If that didn't start alarm bells ringing, the app followed up with an agreement to allow advertising network StartApp to install icons, bookmarks and more on your phone.

The fake app plays on a release date previously bandied that turned out to be false. T-Mobile jumped the gun and announced the iOS and Android app would be available on 27 July, forcing BlackBerry to deny that was the official date.

So far, BlackBerry says only that the app will be out in summer.

Be safe not sorry 

Remember: unlike Apple's iOS store, the Google Play Android app store is not moderated. The beauty is that anyone can create an app, but because Google doesn't check them there are lots of ne'er-do-wells trying to fool you with proper nawty apps. So only install apps that you trust completely, and if the developer is unfamiliar, remember to check out the user reviews to see if anyone has had problems with the app in question.

When you spot an app that you suspect may be dodgy, don't download it and definitely don't agree to the terms. And to help Google spot wrong'uns, report it by tapping on Flag as inappropriate in the market.

Were you taken in by the fake BBM app? Should Google do more to protect you from dodgy apps? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our trusty-worthy Facebook page.