Scam apps are an ugly reality of the App Store. Although Apple has a multi-layer review process to vet apps before releasing them on the App Store, scam apps somehow cheat the system and eventually rob users of millions of dollars.
A new report by the FBI revealed that scam crypto apps stole $42.7 million from 244 investors in just a year’s time. Now, based on the report, U.S Senator Sherrod Brown has sent letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to explain what measures they are taking against such apps.
In 2021, scammers used the iPhone 13 launch event as an opportunity to swindle $69,000 worth of Bitcoin. Some crypto scammers stole millions by using fake App Store and dating apps and an organized crime campaign called “CryptoRom” was also discovered that used Apple TestFlight and web clips to distribute malicious apps on iOS and Android devices.
Apple needs to answer how it prevents cryptocurrency scammers from misusing its App Store
As the popularity of Bitcoin, NFTs, and other cryptocurrencies is increasing worldwide, so are crypto scams, unfortunately.
Concerned by rampant crypto scams, the senator has sent Apple and Google a list of questions inquiring about the companies’ review process and criteria to approve a crypto trading app, measures taken to identify scamming crypto apps on their app stores, the processes to report fraudulent apps, notify consumers of existing or potential fake apps, and their collaborative efforts with other platforms in the past two years to remove or ban fraudulent apps.
Describe the review process your company takes before approving crypto apps to operate in your app store. In your response, please provide the following information:
- The factors or criteria used by your company to determine whether to grant approval to an app, including the steps your company takes to confirm the app seeking approval is a trusted and secure app.
- Describe the steps your app store takes to prevent cryptocurrency apps operating in your app store from circumventing app store policies by transforming into phishing apps. In your response, please describe in detail the frequency to which your app store monitors apps to safeguard against fraudulent activity as well as the steps it takes to remove apps determined to be fraudulent.
- Describe all the systems and processes your company has in place for people to report fraudulent apps.
- Describe all actions your app store has taken to alert people about actual or potential fraudulent activity associated with cryptocurrency investment apps.
- Since January 2020, has your app store coordinated or shared any actions or activities with other app stores related to the suspension or removal of fraudulent cryptocurrency apps? If so, please explain.
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