Kosta Eleftheriou, who earlier asked Apple to take action against fake reviews and ratings on App Store, has now reported another scam app on iOS App Store. The app claims to be ‘Recommended By Apple,’ and charges up to $9.99 per week from users.
Developer Eleftheriou has been taking a dig at Apple ever since the clone version of his Fleksy took over the watchOS App Store. The developer questioned Apple about why the clone version of his apps had better ratings on App Store, even though they charged exorbitant fees and had the same functionality.
He asked Apple why are there such apps on the App Store, despite App Store’s “tough” review process. Since then, the developer has charged a lawsuit against Apple, claiming the company intentionally delayed his app review process to buy his app. Eleftheriou has been bringing certain scam apps to attention, challenging Apple to improve the state of the App Store.
I don't know what's worse about this app:
– “Translated” fake reviews
– “Recommended by Apple” popups in Safari
– https://t.co/Kq5lRrKCWc contact email
– Blank website, registered in India
– $9.99/week subscription
– Grossing $1M (!) a month
What is Apple even doing?? pic.twitter.com/5oUBCJ2GNh
— Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou) April 7, 2021
The developer highlighted another app, by the name of “Privacy Assitant: StringVPN,” that tricks users to buy the VPN service using Apple’s in-app purchasing system and charges fees as high as $9.99/week. The app also has a banner “Recommended By Apple” on its App Store listing. Moreover, Eleftheriou has reported that the app does not even work and even its website is just a blank page.
Eleftheriou has highlighted that the app has again relied on the paid, fake reviews and ratings to move up in the search listings. The majority of reviews praise the app as being “perfect” and say it offers “the best experience ever.” However, some users who genuinely bought the app thinking it would work, claims that the VPN never connects. One user, who paid $89.99 for the app’s yearly subscription, said this:
“They did not show the different payment options for weekly or monthly. Yearly was the only option. I’m reporting to Apple to get a refund. There is no way to contact them directly, and there are no reviews when I did a Google search on this App… It tries to look like a “strongVPN” app, which has many positive reviews.”
Eleftheriou notes that the app is grossing around $1 million per month by scamming iOS users, and has even made it to the top 50 App Store’s Utilities category.
App Store has been in the limelight for quite some time now, and not in a good way. The store has been accused of many malpractices, but the developers have had to rely on it only since Apple does not offer any way of sideloading apps on the iPhone. The situation becomes all more confusing since only two days ago, Tim Cook touted that the App Store has one of the stringent review processes, and said that Apple verifies the content that goes on to the App Store.
Have you noticed any scam app on iOS App Store? If yes, have you reported that app to Apple? Let us know in the comments section below!