If you haven’t been following the tech news recently, you may not be up-to-date on the current trial taking place between Apple and some app developers, including Epic Games.
In short, Epic Games is arguing that it is illegal for Apple to force developers to use two of its services just to charge their own customers in the App Store. Not only do developers need to use the App Store itself, but they also need to use the payment processing system of in-app purchases.
All of this is to say that Epic Games isn’t very happy, and Apple is holding its ground in court. But because of that, a number of shocking things are being revealed – seemingly on a daily basis.
In a similar situation, Kosta Eleftheriou (Apple Watch App FlickType developer) complained to Apple after finding clone apps trading under similar names to his app, tricking users to pay for a subscription. But Apple hasn’t taken any action, thus he is suing the company.
He then announced he developed software that can uncover App Store fraud. It has detected some activities in some apps that have gone unchecked for months and years, all while Apple earns from each transaction going through these apps.
In an article published on the Forbes website, he expressed that at one point, Apple App store fraud could be measured, not in the hundreds, not in the millions, not in the hundreds of millions…
… but in billions.
The Situation With Scam Apps
The developer indicated that he’d seen scam apps practically everywhere. He’d found casinos hidden inside what were supposed to be kids’ games.
He found more iOS VPN scam apps than he could count. One of which even ranked #32 recently on the App Store’s Utilities Category. These fraudulent apps are able to bypass Apple’s system by copying successful apps, and posting fake 5-star reviews.
He insists that he’s right about the apps’ worth being in the billions – but that’s not necessarily what he’s so upset about.
He, along with the larger development community, is upset because Apple is still collecting their 30% cut of all revenue being generated by these apps.
In large part, that’s what the trial versus Epic Games is all about. Epic Games is arguing that not only is this type of thing illegal to do, but it also allows Apple to directly profit from these types of situations.
Another issue with these types of apps is that they do allow fraud to happen against iPhone and iPad owners on a regular basis, and Apple is historically slow to address them.
It could be because they’re getting so many reports of this type of thing that it takes them a while to catch up, but that really is unlikely given the volume of resources Apple has at its disposal.
It will be fascinating to see what else is revealed to the public as the Apple versus Epic Games trial continues.
To conclude, all users must still be careful and do their own research before downloading an app and purchasing in-app offers.
Developer Kosta Eleftheriou advised users to not simply trust the ratings and reviews on the App Store, but also research outside the App Store. One should never assume that Apple will be so quick to refund nor notify you if you’ve fallen victim to any scam apps.
He plans to reveal “more scams and numbers” soon.
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Jim L Olson says
Why is it that Apps no longer post whether they are “free” or charge a fee and what that fee is–until you install it and then you are messaged that a fee has been charged?
Mike Schuttler says
Where is your suggestion to verify these apps? Google? I wish you would have posted a shortcut to a checker.
Thanks for the heads up.
iPad Pete says
Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a list or website to check. I would google the app. Look at the developer’s website. Also, look for a lot of 1-star reviews calling the app a scam among a high number of 5 star “fake” reviews. Apple says they are doing a major sweep to get rid of the scam apps. Seems to be in response to the recent criticisms. So, hopefully, this won’t be an issue in the coming months.
Jan Russell says
But: how do we detect if legit or fake/scam?? If Apple has to take their cut, so be it, but I NEED to be able to trust the app’s legitimacy.
I never pay for an app, you as an individual have the option to pay or not.
Robert E. Handley says
It’s nit a perfect system. Nothing ever is. However it is better then being wide open and totally unchecked. I have purchased apps that don’t work as they should. It’s a bummer they should have been more thoroughly checked. Or maybe they did work and a new or up date iOS broke them. Some developers create apps and then never update them, those apps should be reviewed and pulled. Personally I will stick with Apple.
Gloria Coughenour says
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