84 Fraudulent Apps on App Store Scam Users of Over $100M: Report

In March 2021, Avast shared a list of 133 fraudulent apps with an estimated total of 500 million downloads. More than a year later, 84 of these scam apps are still available on the App Store, cheating users out of more than $100 million a year, according to a report by VPNCheck, a VPN review platform. The report raises serious questions about Apple’s security measures and methods for verifying apps across platforms. This is because Apple iOS users can only download apps from the App Store.

There are no app downloads allowed, which is possible on Android. Apple has strict control over which apps are allowed to be published through the store and also charges a 30% commission, which remains a controversial decision and contested by companies such as Epic Games.

VPNCheck went through the list shared by Avast and checked the details of each app individually in Sensor Tower. It found that in June 2022, active “fleeceware” apps had 7.2 million unique downloads which generated a combined net income of $8.6 million in one month. Making an annual estimate based on June figures, he calculated that these apps are running a $103.2 million scam on the AppStore.

Fleeceware refers to mobile apps that come with hidden and excessive subscription fees. These apps usually take advantage of users who don’t know how to cancel subscriptions.

Most of the scam apps on the list are entertainment apps like virtual musical instruments or utilities like flashlights and calculators. These types of apps may also show up in your searches if you are looking for apps related to divination, photo or video editors, quiz based games, tuners, volume boosters, scanners, etc. documented themes, there could be fraudulent app makers plying their trade in other areas.

One way to easily spot these scams is to look at the ratings breakdown for these apps. They will usually have a large number of paying 5 star reviews from reviewers with fake names. These occur over a specific time period and are intended to hide the many low-rated legitimate reviews provided by real users.

The full list of apps shared by VPNCheck is as follows:

aipic – Magic Photo Editor
Astro+ Horoscope & Astrology
Astroline: daily horoscope
Auto Sticker Maker Studio
Avatar Maker Character Creator
Baby Sticker – Milestone Tracker
Bass Booster Volume Power Amplifier
Beat maker pro – DJ Drum Pad
Beat.ly music video maker
Cartoons Me – Photo Art Editor
Dazz Cam – D3D Photo Effect
Dazzle – Insta Story Editor
Dizzi – Photo and video effects
DJ it! – Music mixing pad
Drink Water ∙ Daily Reminder
Drums: play rhythm and drum games
edjing Mix – dj app
edjing Pro – music remix maker
Equalizer Fx: Bass Booster App
Equalizer + HD Music Player
Facelab – Face & Beauty Editor
FaceMe-Fun Personality Tests
Facetory: Facial Yoga and Exercise
FLMX – Video Editor
Frame – Video Slideshow Maker
Frames – Photo Collage Maker
Girl Games: Unicorn Slime
Guitar – Chords, Tablatures and Stops
Guitar – real games and lessons
Guitar Play – Games and Songs
Guitar tuner – Ukulele and bass
Handset – Second phone number
Highlight Story Cover Maker!
Horoscope 2019 and Palm Reader
Hub – Story Template Creator
Hyper Cleaner: Clean the phone
iCons – Icon Changer App +
Impresso – Insta Story Editor
iWidget Pro: Custom Widgets
Jambl: group of DJs and beat creators
Puzzle – Thinking games
Karaoke Songs – Vocal Singing
Palmistry of Life – AI Palm & Tag
Elevator: story maker
Live Wallpaper Maker: 4K Theme
Loop Maker Pro – Music Maker
Lucky Life – Future seer
MagicFX – Magic Video Effects
Memoristo: brain test, IQ game
Menu designer!
Metronome – Tap Tempo & Rhythm
Metronome Pro – Beat & Tempo
Mood Balance: Self-Care Tracker
Zen Music – Relaxing Sounds
Nebula: Horoscope & Astrology
Password Manager – Lock Apps
Path – Horoscope & Astrology
PDF Scanner: Document Scanning
Photo Collage – Collageable
Photo To Sketch – Sketchbook
Photoly Delete object and editor
Piano – Tutorials & Tile Games
Piano Crush – Keyboard Games
Pixomatic – Background Eraser
Presets for Lightroom – Vidl
REMEMBER: Color by number
HD Ringtones ∙ Ringtone Maker
ScanGuru: PDF Document Scanner
Scanner app ∙ Scan and sign PDF
SlidePic – Slideshow Maker
Slimy: 3D Anti-Anxiety Slime
SpeedPro Slow Speed ​​Video Editing
Sticker Maker – BeSticky
Stickerfy: sticker maker
Sweet Pics – Baby Photo Editor
TeasEar: ASMR Anti-Stress Slime
ToonApp Cartoon Photo Editor
Translate Camera – Speak
Translator Guru: voice and text
UltraFX – Effects Video Maker
Video Puzzles – Magic Puzzle
VOCHI Video Effects Editor
WeDrum: drums, real drum games
PLUS+ Widget – Photo & Weather

Lance B. Holton