India is grappling with oxygen shortage, spiking COVID cases, lack of hospital and ICU beds - and all of this has forced the masses to rely on home remedies and self-medication. Taking advantage of the situation are some cybercriminals, who are trying to lure unsuspecting smartphone users with COVID-related apps.

The claim

We live in an era where there's an app for everything - from ordering food to calling a cab and whatnot. One might not suspect if there's actually an app to test your oxygen levels, which is a crucial aspect to gauge your health in the context of COVID-19. But to test the SpO2 levels, a special device called oximeter is a must. But there are apps that let you get instant SpO2 results using just your smartphone's camera, fingerprint scanner and LED light.

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There are many oximeter apps on Play Store, which pair with a supported oximeter or smartwatch to check oxygen levels. However, there are a few apps that claim to work independent of an oximeter and use just your smartphone to check SpO2 levels.

Fact check

Ever since the COVID pandemic started last year, cybercriminals are on prowl with new methods to trick unsuspecting victims. As India is hit by a second wave of COVID-19, there's a rise in a similar trend. International Business Times witnessed many fake apps that are on rise during the pandemic.

Fake oximeter apps easily grab users' attention. Some of these apps have been downloaded hundreds and thousands of times, which goes on to show how successful these apps are in luring victims.

Fact check: Oximeter app shows false SpO2 results; steals personal data, banking details

Fake oximeter apps promise to work using the phone's light, camera and fingerprint scanner, which is impossible. What these apps do instead is let hackers access the phone's data while pretending to show users their SpO2 levels. These apps also get necessary permissions right in the beginning to access your personal information and SMS, which lets them retrieve OTPs. With such access, hackers can easily drain your bank accounts empty using financial apps on your phone such as Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm or even your bank apps.

These apps are offered for free, but the price one pays to use this useless app is significant. Taking note of the rise of such fake oximeter apps, Haryana cybercrime unit and as well as DGP Karnataka warned users to exercise caution while looking for apps with unrealistic claims.

Fact check: Oximeter app shows false SpO2 results; steals personal data, banking details

International Business Times advises smartphone users to stay vigilant and refrain from falling for such fake apps.