Beware: 'Free' apps may cost you - KMOV.com

Beware: 'Free' apps may cost you

Posted: Updated:
There is always a catch for those "free" apps for your phone. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) There is always a catch for those "free" apps for your phone. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Many of those free apps usually make their money with advertisements. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Many of those free apps usually make their money with advertisements. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The apps may ask you to sign up using one of your other social media accounts like Twitter or Instagram. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The apps may ask you to sign up using one of your other social media accounts like Twitter or Instagram. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
It's a good idea to go through your phone periodically and look for apps you don't use anymore. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) It's a good idea to go through your phone periodically and look for apps you don't use anymore. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Phones, laptops and tablets. All those, are all part of our culture and a big part of our entertainment

“Apps are one of the biggest reasons we love our smartphones and free apps. Everybody loves free apps!” Ken Colburn of Data Doctors said.

But Colburn says there's always a catch to "free." 

“First and foremost, you gotta understand why is this app free? There's gotta be an angle, this is not some altruistic thing. There has to be a revenue component somewhere in there,” Colburn said.

He's right. Many of those free apps usually make their money with advertisements.

“Generally speaking, a free app is supported through advertising. In general, people will say, 'I’m willing to put up with ads to get a free app,'” Colburn said.

But these free apps could end up costing you in other ways.

“The problem is if you're in a limited data program and you use these free apps, a lot of these ads are downloading in the background while you're playing these games. You're using up your data plan with these free apps,” Colburn said.

And there are other gimmicks those free apps utilize that you need to be aware of.

“Another thing that a lot of free apps ask for and sometimes require in exchange for this free app, they have you sign in with your Facebook account or what have you,” Colburn said.

Or they may ask you to sign up using one of your other social media accounts like Twitter or Instagram.

“Basically, you've given them a lot of personal information about you and they can silently track your usage,” Colburn said. 

So, Colburn said before you hit that next "free app," think twice.

“It might make sense to spend the 99 cents so that you never have to worry about these ads kinda eating up your data plan,” Colburn said. 

By the way, it's a good idea to go through your phone periodically and look for apps you don't use anymore. Getting rid of those apps will free up space and may prevent unwanted data from being used.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Recent 3 On Your Side storiesMore>>

  • 3 On Your Side.

    'Digital nudging:' Apps to help you save

    'Digital nudging:' Apps to help you save

    Friday, June 22 2018 12:12 PM EDT2018-06-22 16:12:42 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 10:57 AM EDT2018-06-23 14:57:46 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Setting aside money can be difficult sometimes. However, some Apps are making it easier.

    More >

    Setting aside money can be difficult sometimes. However, some Apps are making it easier.

    More >
  • New 'picture perfect' housing trend

    New 'picture perfect' housing trend

    Thursday, June 21 2018 4:49 PM EDT2018-06-21 20:49:56 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 9:19 AM EDT2018-06-22 13:19:35 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Photo shoots for engagements and weddings are nothing new. But now, there’s a new photo frenzy that’s a speck more “homey.” First-time homebuyers Nathan and Morgan Funke posed for pictures in their new home with a professional photographer and all. 

    More >

    Photo shoots for engagements and weddings are nothing new. But now, there’s a new photo frenzy that’s a speck more “homey.” First-time homebuyers Nathan and Morgan Funke posed for pictures in their new home with a professional photographer and all. 

    More >
  • 'Mobile mechanic' keeps customer's Nissan for 14 months

    'Mobile mechanic' keeps customer's Nissan for 14 months

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 4:42 PM EDT2018-06-20 20:42:24 GMT
    Thursday, June 21 2018 4:56 PM EDT2018-06-21 20:56:11 GMT
    Dale Shephard says a "mobile mechanic" has his Nissan car and won't give it back. (Source: 3TV)Dale Shephard says a "mobile mechanic" has his Nissan car and won't give it back. (Source: 3TV)
    Dale Shephard says a "mobile mechanic" has his Nissan car and won't give it back. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Dale Shephard says a "mobile mechanic" has his Nissan car and won't give it back. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    A Phoenix man says he hasn't seen his car in more than a year, and he has no idea where the mobile mechanic is located.

    More >

    A Phoenix man says he hasn't seen his car in more than a year, and he has no idea where the mobile mechanic is located.

    More >
  • Featured VideoMore>>

  • Royals GM on Luke Heimlich: "We're still gathering information"

    Royals GM on Luke Heimlich: "We're still gathering information"

    Sunday, June 24 2018 9:19 PM EDT2018-06-25 01:19:35 GMT
    Monday, June 25 2018 3:10 PM EDT2018-06-25 19:10:44 GMT
    Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton MooreKansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore

    The Kansas City Royals acknowledged this week they are considering signing Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who in 2012 pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a 6-year-old member of his family.  Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore called the matter a "complex issue" and the Royals are still gathering facts.  "We're still gathering information and we're gathering facts," Moore said. "We feel like we know the player well. It's tough on t...

    More >

    The Kansas City Royals acknowledged this week they are considering signing Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who in 2012 pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a 6-year-old member of his family.  Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore called the matter a "complex issue" and the Royals are still gathering facts.  "We're still gathering information and we're gathering facts," Moore said. "We feel like we know the player well. It's tough on t...

    More >
  • VIDEO: Behold the World Toe Wrestling Champion!

    VIDEO: Behold the World Toe Wrestling Champion!

    It was survival of the biggest big toe on Friday at the World Toe Wrestling Championships in Derbyshire, England! 

    More >

    It was survival of the biggest big toe on Friday at the World Toe Wrestling Championships in Derbyshire, England! 

    More >
  • VIDEO: Tucked along the banks of Oak Creek just outside Cornville, you'll find a shady oasis from the desert heat

    VIDEO: Tucked along the banks of Oak Creek just outside Cornville, you'll find a shady oasis from the desert heat

    A look inside the beautiful Lo Lo Mai Springs in Cornville. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)A look inside the beautiful Lo Lo Mai Springs in Cornville. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Lo Lo Mai Springs is an "outdoor resort" that offers camp sites, RV spots and cabins.  It's a gem of a spot that people come from around the world to visit.  There's a pool, hot tub and playground, plus the cool waters of Oak Creek offer flowing water worth frolicking in. 

    More >

    Lo Lo Mai Springs is an "outdoor resort" that offers camp sites, RV spots and cabins.  It's a gem of a spot that people come from around the world to visit.  There's a pool, hot tub and playground, plus the cool waters of Oak Creek offer flowing water worth frolicking in. 

    More >

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Hide bio

Contact 3 On Your Side
Powered by Frankly