Crypto fraud is sneaking into Apple and Google app stores.
Last month, a man named Phillipe Christodoulou picked up the phone, downloaded an app for a digital wallet for cryptocurrency on the Apple App Store, and logged on.
Immediately, the scammers who built the app – disguised as a reputable crypto storage company – and left it on the app store, looted Christodoulous’ 17.1 bitcoin, which at the time was worth $ 600,000. Washington Post reports. It is a shockingly common scam on both Apple and Google platforms, and unfortunately there is little the platforms seem to be able to do to prevent it from happening.
Bait and switch
Apple goes to great lengths to talk about how the vets each app in the store, which is part of the reason Christodoulou told WaPo he owes the company more than he gives the thieves who benefited from most of the life savings.
“They betrayed the trust I had in them,” he said. “Apple does not deserve to get away with this.”
In this case, the thieves sent out their app under the guise of being an encryption service, and changed it, when it was approved, to an imitation of the crypto hardware book developer Trezor, which does not have its own app. Apple examines apps when they are submitted, but has not a way to track apps that totally change face when live, according to WaPo.
Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis confirmed that Christodoulou and other victims’ stolen crypto was sent to a suspicious account.
“There is evidence that this is a significant fraud that brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said spokeswoman Madeleine Kennedy WaPo.
But there’s not much Apple – or Google – can do about it, other than block the app so others don’t become prey. But with new versions of the scam popping up, they unfortunately stay behind and play a relentless game of nibble-and-mole.
READ MORE: He thought Apple’s App Store was safe. Then a fake app stole his life savings in bitcoin.[[[[Washington Post]
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