Apple blocks users and apps to fight fraud, saving billions of dollars

Apple blocked a total of $7 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions between 2020 and 2023 – as well as fraudulent reviews, apps, and payments – in an attempt to protect its users from criminal activity.

Apple has supposedly “expanded its antifraud initiatives to address these challenges and help protect its users.” Almost a million apps use Apple Pay and StoreKit to facilitate transactions, and, according to the company, fraud losses globally have reached new heights.

To combat this, the tech giant has supposedly blocked $1.8 million worth of fraudulent transactions in 2023 alone, inhibited over 14 million stolen credit cards, and stopped 3.3 million accounts from transacting again.

Apple intends to “weed out bad actors and help strengthen the App Store ecosystem” by using specific methods to help tackle fraudulent activity.

In 2023, Apple rejected over 1.7 million app submissions for “failing to meet the App Store’s stringent standards of privacy, security, and content.”

Furthermore, Apple terminated millions of developer and customer accounts while removing millions of ratings and reviews over fraud concerns.

“In 2023, Apple blocked over 153 million fraudulent customer account creations and deactivated nearly 374 million accounts for fraud and abuse,” the tech giant said.

In the last 12 months, Apple claims to have blocked almost 50,000 illegitimate apps on pirate storefronts.

“Blocking apps from pirate storefronts is also beneficial to developers, whose apps could be modified or used to disguise malicious software for distribution on these platforms,” Apple said.

To further block the flow of fraudulent activity, Apple claims to have a team of “over 500 experts” who evaluate all app submissions, and in 2023, over 1.7 million app submissions were rejected due to concerns over privacy and fraud.

Apple claims that “bad actors employ deceptive tactics to harm users, including the practice of disguising potentially risky apps as innocuous ones.”

Therefore, the company has to review its apps, and some of them turn out to be deceptive. Certain apps are “initially misrepresented as harmless products” that later became pirate movie streaming services, illegal gambling apps, and predatory loan issuers,” Apple states.

In some extreme cases, Apple’s team identified and removed financial service apps that were involved in “complex and malicious social engineering efforts designed to defraud users.” The apps were fronting as legitimate services to facilitate phishing campaigns while providing fraudulent financial and investment services.

Apple states that it has worked extensively to remove these apps. The company claims to have removed or rejected thousands of apps from developers “who engage in bait-and-switch activity.”

The company has blocked or rejected thousands of app submissions on the basis of spam, copyright infringement, misleading users, privacy violations and containing hidden or undocumented features.

Another resource users use to verify the legitimacy of apps is Apple’s ratings and reviews section, which has been the subject of fraudulence and deception.

Over a billion reviews were processed in 2023, and over 150 million fraudulent ratings and reviews were removed from the App Store.

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