Beware This In-App Purchase Scam Uncovered on App Store

Posted June 15, 2017

Furthermore, the user can completely disable the prompts by tapping the iOS Settings app and disabling them.

But, perhaps more worryingly, it also redirects all of its user's internet traffic to a server somewhere. A premium to VPN subscription promises to "change your device IP".

In his article, "How to Make $80,000 Per Month on the Apple App" Lin highlights a troubling trend where search ads are being manipulated to promote unsafe apps.

Lin said that in spite of the poor grammar and punctuation associated with the VPN app's title and description, the app was bringing in $80,000 a month in revenue, according to Sensor Tower, an app analytics platform.

That particular app was questionably called "Mobile protection:Clean & Security VPN" and was ranked number 10 in the top grossing productivity apps section of the store.

Apple didn't respond to Mashable's request for comment on app subscriptions or whether those who had unwittingly paid exorbitant amounts for app subscriptions would get refunds.

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Not all developers out there want your birth certificate and bathing schedule, but enough have proven themselves less than scrupulous over the years, so anything Apple and Google do to help users limit data collection and location tracking is always welcome.

Apple has been notoriously opaque about its review process, which has been a source of frustration to many developers over the years. First one is that it will be necessary for the apps to use the Apple-based review prompt using which users can rate the app without exiting it.

"And there is no excuse for Apple not having flagged them after the fact, once they started generating significant revenue". The whole post is really worth the read, but the bottom line is this: by buying a few strategically picked search ads and using a bit of SEO, a shady developer can make tens of thousands of dollars off a garbage app by aggressively pushing users to buy subscriptions. We have written before about the emergence of fake VPNs in the wake of the decision of the FCC in America to roll back online privacy laws.

Lin and Apple watcher John Gruber are asking how Apple let this app past its review process and are demanding Apple reconsider its App Store advertising system.

And perhaps more importantly, their subscription fees start from $4.54 per month; around 1/20 of the fee for this scam app on the US App Store.