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Bitcoin scam app on Apple's App Store dupes user into forking over $600,000

Bitcoin
(Image credit: Unsplash)

Bitcoin's surge in popularity has seen a rise in fake apps scamming smartphone users. Even with Apple's focus on privacy and App Store security, fake apps still manage to get past the review team and now, a recent victim is not happy.

A fake Bitcoin app launched on the App Store, tricking iPhone user Phillipe Christodoulou into downloading it. After logging in, he immediately lost 17.1 Bitcoin, worth over $600,000 at the time. 

Bitcoin scam apps run rampant 

As reported by The Washington Post, Christodoulou is angrier at Apple for letting the app be available on the App Store in the first place. The fake app was designed to look exactly like a "Trezor" app  —  a company that makes small hardware devices Christodoulou uses to store his cryptocurrency.

According to the article, Apple stated the fake Trezor app got through the ‌App Store‌ through a bait-and-switch. It was called Trezor and used the brand's logo and colours, but was referred to as a "cryptography" app that would encrypt ‌iPhone‌ files and store passwords. Apple approved the app, and now Christodoulou has lost over $600,000.

After the Trezor company reported the fake Bitcoin app, Apple removed it from the App Store and banned the developer. That wasn't the end of it, however, as another fake Trezor app popped up two days later. Thankfully, Apple took it down almost immediately.

Apple makes a big deal over its Apps Store's privacy and security, even specifically stating that it's "a safe and trusted place to discover and download apps." The company also claims that more than 500 dedicated experts around the world review over 100,000 apps.

But despite their efforts, the fake Bitcoin app still slipped under the radar. According to marketing intelligence company Sense Tower, the app was downloaded 1,000 times on both the App Store and on Android's Google Play Store. Yikes.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time a Bitcoin scam app has tricked users into handing over highly-valued cryptocurrency. The article also revealed another victim who lost $14,000 worth of Ethereum and Bitcoin by downloading a fake Trezor app on his iPhone.

If you're on the hunt to buy Bitcoin and are an avid iPhone user, let it be known that there is no Trezor app for iOS.

While Apple may have a strict policy on its App Store (the tech giant claims to have rejected over one million app submissions due to illegal content), this unfortunate scam goes to show it's worth doing your own background check. Who wants to be $600,000 out of pocket?