Several application developers have been identified for what Zee, editor in chief at TheNextWeb, is calling “app farms”, which scam users out of money. The basic idea behind the scam is that the application’s developer will hack a user’s account and force them to download the rest of the developr’s applications, sometimes for exorbitant prices.
The first such scam cited is by Thuat Nguyen, who has developed 42 apps under the name “mycompany”. 41 of these are book apps, all of which managed to get into the top 50 best selling apps in that category, which has caused some eyebrow raising recently.
On investigation it was found that Nguyen had allegedly been hacking people’s iTunes accounts and forcing them to buy apps. Since the news broke all of Nguyen’s apps have been removed, either by himself or Apple, which we hope has an eye on the situation.
Another developer is called Charismaist and only has three apps, two of which appear to be free. We found that the the third costs a whopping €74.99. There have been some reports, however, that users are being charged upwards of $600 for these apps as part of another hacking spree.
A number of people have reviewed these apps to say that they had been conned out of money, rating one out of five stars and warning others about the fake charges, etc. However, when we investigated the applications in question we found that all of these negative reviews had been removed, suggesting that either Charismaist or Apple itself have been actively censoring.
There have been many reports about numerous other applications, suggesting a trend in fake apps and scams in the Apple app store. Reports suggest that Apple is ignoring the problem. One user stated: “Apple did nothing to help but give the password reset advice and removing of the credit card info.”