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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Apps that offer to pay you for doing tasks may be a great way to earn extra bucks but users may be risking much more than they think for the fast cash.

From uploading pictures of her grocery receipts for cash to watching videos on her phone to earn gift cards, work at home mom Nicole McDonald said she makes about a thousand bucks a year using money-making apps.

“I like using apps that pay me cash and rewards because it’s a super easy way to get some extra income,” said McDonald.

There are hundreds of apps that let you cash in!

Receipt Hog is the one McDonald uses to upload sales slips but the app also pays you to take short surveys.

The ShopKick app rewards you with gift cards when you visit recommended stores, scan items and buy products. With Clashot, users can just upload photos and if they’re “liked” by another user you can earn money.

Some apps, like cash pirate, pay you to play games.

“We are definitely seeing more and more apps that at least say they’ll make you money if you use them,” said cyber security expert Gary Miliefsky,

Miliefsky said if you do “use them” apps could be cashing in your privacy.

He reviewed some of the top money-making applications and found buried deep in the fine print some admit they:find your precise GPS location, prevent a device from sleeping, send sms messages, modify or delete contents of your USB storage, download files without notification, take pictures and video, and even record audio.

“I think that the behavior in most of these rewards apps is creepy and inappropriate. Yes, they need to monetize you and ensure that you’re located where you say that you are but they’re collecting way too much information,” said Miliefsky.

He found some money-making apps don’t even post required privacy policies and others operate outside the United States.

“If you feel like you’ve been ripped off and the app manufacturer is located in China or the UK or Canada you may have to go to those countries, their regulating agency to get your money and an agency may not help you if you haven’t had many thousands of dollars in losses,” said Miliefsky.

Experts said if you’re going to use a money-making app: review its privacy policy and what information the app accesses, see where the app company is located, read the reviews and don’t download any app that pops up as a link in a text message.

“For the most part these apps are fairly safe if you download them from the iTunes store or Google Playstore. You have a few more built-in security measures,” said Miliefsky.

McDonald said she’s never had a problem with any of her money-making apps and she’s fine trading some of her privacy for a little extra cash.

“I don’t think you could make a living off the apps but I think it supplements your income very well,” said McDonald.

Click here to watch Walter Makaula’s report. 

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