Report: 2% Of the Top 1000 Grossing Apps on App Store Are Scams

BY Sanuj Bhatia

Published 7 Jun 2021

iPhone App Store

A new report from The Washington Post highlights the scams operating on the Apple App Store. According to the report, nearly 2% of the top 1,000 grossing apps on the App Store are scams, and are ‘hiding in plain sight.’ The scams have poached iOS users for nearly $48 million.

App Store scams are not new. Apple has been experiencing an unprecedented number of backlashes surrounding the App Store in the past few months. In the past few weeks, developer Eleftheriou has highlighted a number of scams on the App Store. These apps charge customers very high amounts of money for basic things, such as scanning QR codes or connecting a VPN.

These scams stay on the Store until and unless huge amounts of stories are reported against them. Apple, on the other hand, earns a handful amount of money by the scam app’s commission. Stan Miles, an economics professor at Thompson Rivers University says that Apple would be more serious about this if iPhone users had an option to install apps from third-party stores.

“If consumers were to have access to alternative app stores or other methods of distributing software, Apple would be a lot more likely to take this problem more seriously,”

app store scam prices

But unfortunately, that’s not the case. Apple is still keen on its take to the App Store. The company still sticks to its ‘App Store is the best place to download apps on iPhone’ quote saying it’s safe for users.

“We hold developers to high standards to keep the App Store a safe and trusted place for customers to download software, and we will always take action against apps that pose harm to users. Apple leads the industry with practices that put the safety of our customers first, and we’ll continue learning, evolving our practices, and investing the necessary resources to make sure customers are presented with the very best experience.”

Eleftheriou, the developer who first exposed Apple about the scams, says that the developers are afraid of reporting these scams to Apple. He says that they are in a ‘fear of upsetting Apple’ who might take an unknown action against the reporter.  Moreover, there is no ‘Report a problem’ section, or even a button on the App Store that enables users to report these scams to Apple.

The report comes just hours ahead of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference. Tim Cook is likely to speak something about the App Store at the WWDC 2021 event, but we won’t be surprised if it’s another knock-off statement claiming App Store is safe.

[Via The Washington Post]