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Is Temu legit? Cybersecurity expert warns it's not the bargain you want, coupon codes aside

Kim Komando
Special to 91影视
Temu is a popular shopping app in the 91影视, but cybersecurity experts warn it collects lots of information.

Seemingly overnight, everyone鈥檚 talking about Temu, an online shopping app full of deals that seem too good to be true. You鈥檒l find $17 wireless earbuds, $1 鈥済old鈥 necklaces and $23 wedding dresses.

No wonder Temu is the second-most popular shopping app in the 91影视, behind only Amazon. But most of us know little about the app's origins. , it鈥檚 tied to China.

I did some digging into whether it鈥檚 safe to use. Here鈥檚 what I found:

I share important security updates every weekday straight to your inbox. . (It's free!)

Where did Temu come from?

This app isn't some fly-by-night operation. Temu (pronounced "tee-moo") is based in Boston by . PDD is headquartered in Shanghai. PDD also owns the e-commerce platform Pinduoduo headquartered in 鈥撀爕ou guessed it 鈥 China. (More on Pinduoduo and its shady app below.)

Over 50 million Americans have downloaded Temu since it launched stateside in September 2022. You might remember its expensive Super Bowl ads promising to let you 鈥渟hop like a billionaire.鈥

Searches for terms like "Is Temu legit" surged once Americans saw just how cheap the prices are. Not surprisingly, you get what you pay for.

What you need to know before using Temu

First, you're buying goods directly from manufacturers in China and other parts of the world. That's why shipping times are often much longer than on sites like Amazon. You might get your stuff in a week, but that could be more like 12 days.

For the most part, the prices are low because the goods are cheap. The pictures of what you see advertised may not be what you actually get.

Online reviewers seem to agree: Cheap is nice, but not when the quality is too shoddy to use...

But that鈥檚 not the worst of it. As you shop, Temu collects lots of information.

What is Temu?:What we know about the e-commerce company with multiple Super Bowl ads

It gets worse

Temu isn鈥檛 unique in all the info it wants to capture from your phone, of course. Most apps out there want as much as you鈥檒l give up. But considering its ties to Communist China, the permissions seem even more frightening to me.

Temu collects, among other things:

鈥 The info you provide, such as your name, address, and phone number.

鈥 Details you enter, such as your birthday, photo, and social media profiles.

鈥 Your phone or computer鈥檚 operating system and version, your IP address, GPS location (if you allowed it), and browsing data.

They also gather more about you from third-party sources, including Temu sellers, public records, social media, data brokers, credit bureaus, and marketing partners.

Americans using Temu are selling the country out for bargains that really aren鈥檛 worth it. I say you delete it. Here鈥檚 how:

On iPhone, Long-press an app, then tap Remove App > Delete App. Tap Delete to confirm.

On Android, touch and hold an app, then tap Remove App > Delete App > Delete.

Still have TikTok on your phone?

Temu is not alone

While Temu collects a lot, it鈥檚 nothing compared to Pinduoduo. Remember, they are owned by the same company.

Cybersecurity researchers found it wasn鈥檛 just tracking device info and activity 鈥 malicious code allowed it to bypass cellphone security settings to spy on other apps, read notifications and messages, and even change settings.

Pinduoduo gains full access to all your contacts, calendars, and photo albums, plus all your social media accounts, chats, and texts. In other words, literally everything on your phone.

Why?

No shopping app needs this much control, especially one tied to Communist China. If you鈥檙e using Pinduoduo, delete the app from your phone ASAP. It鈥檚 also reportedly hard to remove everything, even after you delete it.

Pro tip: If you downloaded Pinduoduo you really need to do a on your smartphone to wipe out any remaining code or tracking.

TECH ADVICE ON THE GO:

Plus, I give my advice to a guy that needs an Android version of an Apple AirTag. Meanwhile, National Parks are booming and one company is cashing in big time. Feeling lost in a sea of people? Don't worry 鈥 Google Maps has you covered.

Learn about all the latest technology on the聽, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at聽.

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