Last month, a man called Phillipe Christodoulou took his phone, downloaded a new app for a digital cryptocurrency wallet found on the Apple app store, and logged in.
Straight away, the scammers who created the app — which was portrayed as a legit crypto storage company — and hid it onto the app store stole Christodoulou’s 17.1 bitcoin, which at that moment were worth $600,000, The Washington Post published. It’s a disturbingly common scam on both Apple and Google platforms, and sadly there’s hardly anything that the platforms apparently can do to stop it from taking place.
Apple goes to deep lengths to claim how it processes every app on the store, which is partially why Christodoulou told WaPo he holds the company responsible more than he criticizes the robbers who went off with most of his life savings.
“They cheated the trust that I had in them,” he was quoted as saying. “Apple isn’t entitled to get away with this.”
In this scenario, the thieves published their app under the likeness of being an encryption service. Later, once it was accepted, it converted it into an imitation of the crypto hardware wallet creator Trezor, which doesn’t own an app of its own. Apple looks through apps when they’re submitted but doesn’t have a process to track apps that completely change face once they’re life, as stated in WaPo.
The blockchain inspection firm Chainalysis established that Christodoulou and other victims’ stolen crypto was moved to a shady-looking account.
“There’s proof this is a serious scam getting in hundreds of thousands of dollars,” company spokesperson Madeleine Kennedy spoke to WaPo.
But there’s nothing that Apple — or Google — can do later other than blocking the app, so other customers don’t become victims. But with the latest scam types appearing, unfortunately, they’re left playing a difficult situation where the same problem occurs repeatedly.