Developer highlights how fake apps scam users via Apple’s In-App Purchasing system

Sami Fathi, MacRumors:

Eleftheriou has highlighted yet another scam app on the ‌App Store‌. This time Eleftheriou is shining a light on how one scam app called “Privacy Assitant: StringVPN” uses Apple’s in-app purchasing system to trick people into purchasing either a weekly, monthly, or yearly subscription for a fake VPN service.

Here’s the tweet:

First things first, wrap your head around what’s going on here. Then wonder why these sorts of apps are allowed on the App Store.

I posed that question in this tweet. Follow the link, read the responses.

Some have suggested that Apple makes money on the scams, is not motivated to fix the problem. I just can’t accept that explanation. No way.

A better explanation is in this tweet from Joe Cieplinski:

I think it’s because for every one of these, there are 10,000 more that they did take down. I don’t think most of us understand the scale at which people are scamming the App Store. How many per day can a small group of reviewers take down, realistically?

If so, feels like Apple either needs to ramp up their efforts here, budget for more reviewers, or find a way to get smarter. Maybe they could create a trusted list of third party reviewers, starting with @Keleftheriou, who can help trim the scams out of the App Store. Maybe even offer them a bounty.

This hurts users, hurts Apple’s reputation, and also harms the developer community, especially indie devs, because it makes it so much harder for their apps to stand out/stay in business. This has got to change.