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updated 4/23/2012 3:16:08 PM ET 2012-04-23T19:16:08

A somewhat misleading iPhone lock screen app has drawn criticism from more than 1,000 disgruntled customers who feel they were duped into buying the security-themed app, which, it turns out, provides only an entertaining, but mostly useless, facsimile of security.

The app, called Lock My Screen, purports to do just that; those who purchase the app — it jumped to $1.99 from 99 cents last week — are told they are buying a security system for their iPhone that "helps you create a specialized unlock screen that increases security," GottaBeMobile reported.

Other copycat apps are called Locked Folder Secret — Pattern Lock for iPhone, iPod, A Unlock Screen, Biometrics Security and Choose Your Favorite Locking Mechanism.

But the app, and its offshoots, doesn't lock your screen — it only pretends to. Instead, the Lock My Screen app lets buyers choose one of 20 wallpapers that make the phone look as if its screen is locked, while doing nothing to actually enhance the user's security.

In his defense, Fabio Junior, the Lock My Screen developer, included a disclaimer at the bottom of the app description explaining that "Security is provided by the illusion of an impenetrable locked screen. The app does not actually  lock your screen  nor provide new unlock features. It is meant to only give the perception of security against the meddlesome scumpling and is not a real security system for your device." Apple has classified the app, and its similarly themed counterparts, under the entertainment section.

Despite its poor reviews — 1,000 one-star ratings and loads of angry user comments — in the Apple App store, the Lock My Screen app netted Junior more than $1,000, the security firm Sophos  said.

A word of advice: read the user comments and reviews before you download any app, especially one you're paying for. This is a perfect example of how a quick glance at page after page of negative comments can provide all the guidance you need. 

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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