Flappy Bird Scams: Clones Trick Users Into Sending Expensive Premium Texts and Sharing Personal Information

Flappy Birds, the immensely popular cell phone game app, which was developed by a Vietnamese programmer who lives with his mother and has strangely (and abruptly) pulled the app free off the market, is now the subject of clone scam apps by scammers. Sophos has found infected versions of Flappy Bird in alternative Android markets (in other words, NOT the Play Store). Typically, the fake apps claim to be a "trial version" that require you send a text message to a premium number, and won't let you completely quit the app until you do.

Security firm Trend Micro reported fake Flappy Bird Android apps in Google's Android store. Fake aps of this type are common in app stores based in Russia and Vietnam. While these appear to work just like the original Flappy Birds app, behind the scenes they connect to a server through Google Cloud Messaging to receive instructions. Then the apps are able to send text messages, hide the resulting notifications, and send the user's phone number, carrier, and Gmail email address to the scammer's server.

In an interview with Forbes Magazine, the real Flappy Bird creator (29-year-old developer Dong Nguyen) said he deleted the app as it was "addictive" and "Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed. But it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it's best to take down Flappy Bird. It's gone forever."

What are the names of some of the Flappy Bird Scam Clones

  • Ironpants,
  • Clumsy Bird,
  • Flappy Fish,
  • Flappy Octopus
  • Flappy Angry Bird.


What to do

  • Uninstall / remove the clone games from your phone

And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive.  We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!




Resources and Related Scams