Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Beware of PhotoKeeper


UPDATE, JULY 10, 2017: You will notice that one of the comments is from the developers of PhotoKeeper. They give a plausible explanation for the scamming/spamming behavior, and they ask us (you and me) to consider trying the app again.

And the PhotoKeeper entries at Google Play and the App Store have been VERY recently deleted and rewritten. All of the old reviews are GONE.

This review was written in January 2017. The developers submitted their comment on April 20, 2017. And yet, according to this webpage, as of May 23, 2017, PhotoKeeper was still spamming.

I'd like to hear some more comments from people who either tried the app, or received an email from PhotoKeeper, after April 20, 2017. Is it now well-behaved, or is it still spam?



UPDATE, JULY 12, 2017: I've been snooping around the Internet, and I've found plenty of reports that confirm that PhotoKeeper is still spamming people.
  End of updates



Beware of the PhotoKeeper app!

You may get an email from a friend — or perhaps from an address you don't even recognize — that says:
"Hi Ray, you just got photos!
You were granted access to photos by @jjb4929 because you're in their network.
Click to see 24 photos on PhotoKeeper. "

So you click on the link.

If you're on a PC, you go to a page that says:  
"We’re still working on a web viewer — sorry for the inconvenience. Meanwhile, you can view photos in the FREE app :)
Send a link to my phone →"

That's bait and switch, kids. Don't fall for it.

But if you're on a phone, clicking on the link takes you directly to Google Play or the App Store, so you can download the App.

STOP! Don't do it! Read the reviews!

Once you install the app, it immediately harvests your contacts list and sends to them the same message that it sent to you, offering to share YOUR photos with all of your contacts - if THEY will install the app.

That's classic virus spam behavior. It's bad. You will be sorry.

PhotoKeeper advertises itself as a good way to keep track of all the photos you have tucked into various electronic places. Maybe it does that. It may even be good at it. But a photo-management app shouldn't need access to your Contacts, and it DEFINITELY shouldn't be sending unsolicited emails to your Contacts without your knowledge or permission.

IF YOU READ THE REVIEWS:

Until a few minutes ago, among the 100-plus reviews were 19 five-star reviews dated September 30, 2016 and October 10, 2016. These were all one-line reviews that said things like "Good game!" and "Fun to play!" One even said "Good strategy game!" It's not a game, and the reviews were spam: totally bogus reviews put up there by PhotoKeeper's makers to inflate their rating on Google Play. The two reviews posted on October 11 also look bogus.

Some of the later reviews praise the app's "editing tools." These reviews are also bogus. How do I know? BECAUSE THE APP DOESN'T HAVE ANY EDITING CAPABILITY.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

Think twice before you download PhotoKeeper. Maybe even think three times. There are other ways to manage your photos which don't involve surrendering control of your phone to a shady app backed by fake reviews.

p.s. I'm open-minded. I'm willing to be proven wrong about PhotoKeeper. I haven't installed it myself. After the research I conducted in order to write this blog entry, I chose not to.

34 comments:

The Budding Ukulelist said...

I agree with you. I was suspicious of the username immediately. Looks like a photo/contact harvesting app. One star review and reported spam. Thanks for the confirmation

Craig Owens said...

It is Spam. As a photographer who has photographer friends, I was curious to see the notification from a model friend of mine. I downloaded the App, and Photokeeper wanted me to start a 30 day free trial before automatic billing. I immediately deleted the app, but now I am being alerted by my friends that they are being contacted by Photokeeper to see photos that I never uploaded.

Question now is -- how do I undo the pain?

Tanked said...

Just to boost the message, yes this is total spam. Looks really good though and I wouldn't blame anyone for being fooled into installing it.

Joe Sands said...

Agree with the other commenters. This is sketchy. Can't even tell which of my "friends" it is that is "sending" me the photos and need to download the app and give them my info (aka join) to see the photos. Go f yourself Photokeeper. You have lost my trust and my business probably indefinitely.

LynzM said...

Thank you for this. I just got this email today, was immediately suspicious, and your blog entry was welcome confirmation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info! I also got an email announcing someone wanted to share photos. I asked a relative I thought it might have harvested my email from, and she did NOT know the app was sending out invites.
How can they say "free storage" if it costs $9.99/month?
@Craig, sorry to hear about the troubles it has given you.
I wish there was a way to mark as phishing without installing (cannot review until installed).

Brad said...

I just received the same spam

Anonymous said...

How do you get rid of the thing. It's emailing all my contacts and who knows what pictures it's sharing.

Steveupintheair said...

Thanks for the heads up. Much appreciated.

Maret said...

I just got the same message. Why would I click on a link to see photos of someone apparently in my network who I don't know? Thanks for posting on this for people like me who google it to see what it is before clicking.

TomP said...

Thanks very much for this. I have been getting emails from Photokeeper about photos uploaded from people I don't know. It felt like a phishing attempt, but all the links went back to photokeeper-emailf.com, so I wasn't sure exactly what the scam was, before finding your blog.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning. They may have gotten a bit smarter. The email I got said a friend posted photos for me but it wouldn't say which friend. I'm glad I found this so I knew to report it as spam and delete it. - Alex

Al Quint said...

thanks for this! I've gotten a few solicitations for it and Googled Photokeeper Spam and it brought me here.

Lisa Betts-LaCroix said...

You are exactly right. I deleted it as soon as I discovered that it has spammed my list of questions still remains as to whether those harvested email owners will continue to be spammed.

dave criss said...

Yep, fell for it but did not install the app. I did, however, manage to remove Photokeeper from my google account (I hope). Here's what I did:

I clicked on my account icon (upper right) in gmail and selected "My Account"
From "My Account", under "Sign In & Security" I clicked "Connected Apps and Sites"
Once there, click "Manage Apps" under "Apps connected to your account"
Scroll down to Photokeeper, click it, then click REMOVE.

Fingers crossed!

Barf-o-rama!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning.

H. Jules said...

I am would stir clear of this. Main reason I found this article was because of distrust

walkalong said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I will warn my friends about photokeeper.

bigalrlz said...

Thanks for this post. I just got an 'invite' and googled before clicking as it seemed scammy, and your post confirmed my suspicions. Have a great day!

Charles Tryon said...

As soon as I saw the "Log in with Gmail" on the Web site, I suspected foul play. Didn't sign in, thankfully, so it hopefully couldn't harvest my email addresses.

Heather Noël said...

Thanks for writing this! I had the same feeling about this when it show up in my gmail. So I checked for reviews first, and you confirmed what I was feeling! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I just got one of those email notifications, but I never heard of photokeeper, so I searched before clicking the link to view photos. You have just saved me and my friends a ton of trouble. Thank you. Thank you.

Isaiah said...

Yeah, the problem is, the developers made it look really legit, and it's tempting when you see your friends' faces on there. Often with scams, they just don't look right; they're kinda shoddy, but PhotoKeeper has well-polished graphics and so forth. Be super cautious anytime an app wants your contacts. The approval screen is there for your protection; use it to reject anything suspicious.

PhotoKeeper said...

Hello,

We are the developers of PhotoKeeper. Our goal is backup all your photos to one place with unlimited cloud storage. There is a free version with standard resolution and PhotoKeeper Plus with maximum resolution and video.

Early on, we did try a third party service which advertised having real users trying out our app and rating it but most of the users were gamers and made comments like "Fun game" without even trying the app. If you look at our reviews since then, you will see real users writing real reviews for our app.

In gathering all your photos to one place, some users connected with both Facebook and Gmail. Their settings chosen on sign-up were to share their Facebook photos with their contacts on PhotoKeeper (imported from Gmail). Photo notifications were sent by email which was positive for our growth.

A small percent of the users ended up sharing their photos unintentionally. We got many 1-star reviews from this.

We tried to make the sharing popup clearer by labeling it "Facebook Sharing Settings" so people would be more aware of how photos were shared but some users were still unaware or confused. Next, we started sending people emails prior to any sharing with the subject "You have sharing enabled on PhotoKeeper". The email described how their shared Facebook photos would be shared with their contacts. This improved things but as we grew, there was still a small percentage of people that ended up sharing unintentionally.

Finally, as of iPhone release 1.2.45, we no longer support carrying over Facebook photo permissions. Instead, all your Facebook photos are private by default. We also allow new users to see all photos that they have access to without having to download the app, you only have to authenticate with Google.

We hope that you will take another look at our app. You can always go to Settings --> Delete Account Permanently to completely delete all of your data from our system. Our top feature is our photo editor with more options than iCloud or Google Photos. Combined with free unlimited photo storage, it is the best solution for getting all your photos in one place.

Lance

p.s. For any problems, please contact support@photokeeper.com

Anonymous said...

The idea is good though. What app would you recommend? - Organisation of a zillion pics really confuses me. - Jalera

David Vogel said...

Just got an email just like this from PhotoKeeper. Surprisingly tidy and professional-looking for spam -- it's not as obvious as most. Thanks for doing the research and posting this warning.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the heads-up! This looked suspicious to me too, and you guys confirm my suspicions without me having to take the hit!! Thanks for letting us all know.

Myriam said...

I was suspicious and fortunately I read your post. Thank you for taking the time to help other internet users! I will definitely folow you. I also like what you say about yourself, and the way you say it!

kim g said...

i have this app and have no issues so far, never been asked to pay for anything either, I used it to take all my photos off facebook because facebook doesn't give an easy way to remove all photos besides opening each pic and saving it elsewhere this app did it in minutes over 5000 pics, now I am looking for a desktop version to clear out a 2nd facebook which was my original one that I don't use.

I don't know where you guys are getting this free trial thing from but I have not seen it at all and no charges and never asked to pay anything either, it was totally free.

there is a photokeeper plus that is 9.99 per month that comes with a free 30 day trial but you don't have to buy it or choose that option at all.

Amanda said...

Almost fell for it, but was wary after installing another app last year that had the same model. Glad I found this article - confirmed my suspicions.

AMJ said...

Thanks for your service to the planet, Zyzmog. Your warning is cogent and well written. I almost fell for this today but thankfully came across posts like this in time. Peace.

Unknown said...

I've gotten 3 texts telling me someone shared a photo with me... Not even a who or a whom or a whence

Anonymous said...

I just opened a email from photo keeper and I miss read it. I tapped on the link that said View Photos. It took a page www.photokeeper-emaila.com. It reads photos are available to view below that it says connect with my e-mail address to view photos of contacts cancel at any time. Below that is a link with what exactly looks like the G for Google with view photos. I did not click on this link instead I Googled photo keeper and found this website. I really would like to know if I unleashed this scam to all of my contacts? I would like to at least warn them of this. If I have just clicked my way into this, how do I get out of this. I have learned a valuable lesson. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Wendy Fasullo said...

I just opened a photo keeper email. I did click on the view photos link. It said photos are available to view and and connect with my e-mail address ito view photos of contacts cancel at any time. Under that Iit had a link with the G that looks exactly like Google uses and says view photos. I did not click on that. By me just tapping on the view photos link in the email did I just unleash this horror on my contacts? Help on what to do is greatly appreciated.