More Bang For Your Buck: Dangers of using cash apps

Published: Jun. 18, 2015 at 6:49 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2015 at 9:24 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's the newest high-tech way to work from home or even be a secret shopper, but just what could you be risking for those extra bucks you can make through cash apps?

From uploading pictures of grocery receipts for cash to watching videos on your phone to earn gift cards, work-at-home mom Nicole McDonald makes about $1,000 per year using moneymaking apps.

"I like using apps that pay me cash and rewards because it's a super easy way to get some extra income," she said.

Receipt Hog is the one McDonald uses to upload sales slips, but the app also pays users to take short surveys. Shopkick rewards users with gift cards when they visit recommended stores, scan items and buy products. With Clashot, users upload photos, and if they're liked by someone else, the user can earn money. Cash Pirate pays users to play games.

Cyber experts warn that you could be cashing in your privacy. Buried deep in the fine print, some apps acknowledge they

  • find your precise GPS location
  • prevent a device from sleeping
  • send SMS messages
  • modify or delete contents of your USB storage
  • download files without notification
  • take pictures and video
  • record audio

"I think that the behavior in most of these rewards apps is creepy and inappropriate," said Gary Miliefsky. "Yes, they need to monetize you and ensure that you''re located where you say that you are, but they're collecting way too much information."

Experts say if you're going to use a moneymaking app:

  • Review its privacy policy and what information the app accesses.
  • See where the app developer is located
  • Read the reviews
  • Don't download any app that pops up as a link in a text message.

"For the most part, these apps are fairly safe. If you download them from the iTunes store or Google Play Store you have a few more built-in security measures," Miliefsky said.

For McDonald, she has no problem trading some of her privacy for a little extra cash. "I don't think you could make a living off the apps, but I think it supplements your income very well," she said.

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