Beware of ChatGPT Clones: A Surge of Fraudulent Apps Exploiting OpenAI's Chatbot

Russell Kidson
Feb 27, 2023
Updated • Feb 27, 2023
Apps, Security

Beware of ChatGPT Clones: A Surge of Fraudulent Apps Exploiting OpenAI's Chatbot

It is often said that imitation is a form of flattery, and while that may be true in certain contexts, it may not be the most fitting term to describe the situation with ChatGPT, OpenAI's popular new chatbot.

As with any popular technology, ChatGPT is now facing the inevitable downside of its fame, which includes numerous low-quality and potentially hazardous app clones flooding the market.

To put it plainly, these cloned apps are pervasive in app stores and pose a significant problem.

Beware of ChatGPT Clones: A Surge of Fraudulent Apps Exploiting OpenAI's Chatbot

It should not be unexpected to find clones or imitations of ChatGPT, given that the technology has been widely adopted, including by Microsoft in their Bing and Edge software products. Similar frenzies of iterative applications, such as those capable of generating AI art or photo editing, were also triggered by technologies like Stable Diffusion and OpenAI's generative model, DALL-E.

However, a key distinction is that many of these apps were, or still are, based on the models they were intended to leverage. On the other hand, the recent surge of ChatGPT clones is problematic because OpenAI has not made an API publicly available, which means that any application claiming to use ChatGPT's technology for its own purposes is blatantly untruthful.

Should you be fortunate, clones such as 'ChatGPT - AI Chat, AI Friend' and 'Chat GPT: GPT based AI ChatGOD,' available on the Google Play Store, may indicate (upon closer examination) that they are using GPT-3, a previous and less advanced OpenAI model. Unlike ChatGPT, GPT-3 does have a publicly available API.

A similar issue exists in Microsoft's app store, where the top search result for 'ChatGPT' is a downloadable app called 'ChatGPT·AI,' which costs $5.99. The corresponding app description is in Chinese, but a quick translation by Google Translate yields the following:

‘ChatGPT·AI is a local optimized version of ChatGPT. This version is optimized through the database, and the questions with existing answers are extracted from the database, which greatly shortens the answering time. The new questions are re-analyzed and saved in the database for the next question. Filter prohibited words, etc., to meet localization requirements.’

ChatGPT Clones: A Rising Wave of Scam Apps Preying on Unsuspecting Users

The Apple App Store situation

On the Apple App Store, the situation is somewhat less apparent. Copycat apps avoid any direct association with ChatGPT, and instead adopt names such as 'Genie - AI Chatbot' and 'Chat AI - Ask Anything.' Some of these apps also claim to use OpenAI's GPT-3 models.

The only thing more concerning than these dishonest apps are the clones that employ ChatGPT's appearance for malicious purposes. 

As reported by BleepingComputer, security researcher Dominic Alvieri has already drawn attention to the fact that some ChatGPT clones available on Google's Play Store are created by 'developers' connected to phishing scams. Cybersecurity firm Cyble's researchers have already identified 50 distinct apps that use ChatGPT's likeness to propagate scams. It is evident that GPT scammers have wasted no time in their fraudulent activities.

Admittedly, not every app clone is blatantly harmful, but even those that are disingenuous are redolent of shoddy scamming tactics. Some apps, such as 'Open Chat GBT,' rely on unsuspecting users to download the app, and occasionally even pay for 'premium' features. Furthermore, even if a ChatGPT copycat does not succeed in charging for deceitful premium features, fraudulent developers can still profit from app downloads alone. Numerous copycat apps, whether related to ChatGPT or not, are chock-full of ad services that enable scammers to profit solely from ad impressions.

There is no ChatGPT app

Currently, OpenAI does not provide an official app, but that could change in the future. We hope that a certified and trustworthy app will be released soon, which can assist in redirecting unsuspecting users from scams. Until then, it appears that ChatGPT Premium is the best choice.


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  1. basingstoke said on February 27, 2023 at 4:14 pm

    “A Surge of Fraudulent Apps Exploiting OpenAI’s Chatbot”

    “OpenAI has not made an API publicly available, which means that any application claiming to use ChatGPT’s technology for its own purposes is blatantly untruthful”

    So OpenAI’s Chatbot isn’t being exploited, the headline of the article is a straight up lie.

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