Editorial, Opinion

Is Temu worth the price? Malware and identity theft

Bee Goodman

Jan. 30,2024


The deals are unbelievable, perhaps too good to be true. Temu is raising red flags as its scams are coming to light.

You have probably seen the ads, received messages about the free order, or caught on to the trend of online shopping on the recently famous Temu app. The app is covered in bright, dopamine-creating colors and spinning wheels for a chance of bigger discounts. The store offers low priced items and it makes many feel like a billionaire, But if you examine the roots of Temu, you will see why you should keep your online shopping to more secure sites.
Temu is already under investigation by the U.S. government because its sister company, an e-commerce platform by the name Pinduoduo, was suspended by Google for containing malware. That malware was used to steal data from consumers who made purchases on the site. The business model for Pinduoduo is extremely similar to Temu.

Just as Pinduoduo did, Temu acts as the middleman between cheap Chinese manufacturers and consumers. Google Play store banned the app from Chinese devices because the software was using malware to track users locations, search history, access files and apps, make changes to device settings, and even read private messages. (Diazepam)
Temu has yet to be found using the same malware but with the same parent company of PDD Holdings Incorporated, it’s less of a question of “if?” but more of “when?”

While Pinduoduo is targeted to Chinese consumers, Temu is targeting American consumers. The app’s business model doesn’t make sense and leads one to wonder how the company is even still running. They buy products for almost 10 times the price they sell for, offer free shipping, and push “share and save” promotions that reward users with free items by sharing links with friends. These practices should send any company into the negative, but Temu seems to stay on top. This may be due to a similar malware attack that gives Temu the data to sell without user consent or knowledge.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has already found that Temu is collecting user data such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and even birthdates. Temu can also collect additional information from your device such as the IP address that leaves you and other users in the same server vulnerable.
There is no question as to why experts in cyber security are concerned. As the experts have said countless times: delete the app and its data entirely, don’t download it, don’t click on sponsored ads no matter how good a deal may seem. Sure you may have gotten an off brand version of the Airpods Pros 2, but you’ve now exposed yourself to possible malware and identity theft.

Is it really worth the price?