Bitcoin Scam App Approved by Apple Robs iPhone User of $600,000+

A scam bitcoin app that was designed to look like a genuine app was accepted by Apple's App Store review team and ended up costing iPhone user Phillipe Christodoulou 17.1 bitcoin, or upwards of $600,000 at the time of the theft, reports The Washington Post.

apple bitcoin app scam
Christodoulou wanted to check on his bitcoin balance back in February, and searched Apple's ‌App Store‌ for "Trezor," the company that makes the hardware device where he stored his cryptocurrency. He saw an app with the Trezor padlock logo and a green background, so he downloaded it and entered his credentials.

Unfortunately, the app was fake, and was designed to look like a legitimate app to fool bitcoin owners. Christodoulou had his total bitcoin balance stolen from him, and he's angry with Apple. "Apple doesn't deserve to get away with this," he told The Washington Post.

Apple reviews all ‌App Store‌ app submissions to prevent scam apps from being downloaded by ‌iPhone‌ users, but there are plenty of scam and copycat apps like the fake Trezor app that slip by and have major consequences for ‌iPhone‌ users.

Apple says the fake Trezor app got through the ‌App Store‌ through "a bait-and-switch." It was called Trezor and used the Trezor logo and colors, but said that it was a "cryptography" app that would encrypt ‌iPhone‌ files and store passwords. The developer of the fake app told Apple that it was "not involved in any cryptocurrency." After the fake Trezor app was submitted, it changed itself into a cryptocurrency wallet, which Apple was not able to detect.

Meghan DiMuzio, the executive director for the Coalition of App Fairness that counts anti-Apple companies like Epic Games as a member, said that Apple "pushes myths about user privacy and security as a shield against its anti-competitive ‌App Store‌ practices." She said that Apple's security standards are "inconsistently applied across apps" and "only enforced when it benefits Apple."

Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz told The Washington Post that Apple takes swift action when criminals defraud ‌iPhone‌ users.

User trust is at the foundation of why we created the App Store, and we have only deepened that commitment in the years since. Study after study has shown that the App Store is the most secure app marketplace in the world, and we are constantly at work to maintain that standard and to further strengthen the App Store's protections. In the limited instances when criminals defraud our users, we take swift action against these actors as well as to prevent similar violations in the future.

Apple declined to comment on how often scam apps are found, nor how often they're removed from the ‌App Store‌. The company did, however, say that 6,500 apps were removed last year for "hidden or undocumented features."

Apple acknowledged that it has discovered other cryptocurrency scams on the ‌App Store‌, but did not provide specific details on numbers nor whether there had been fake Trezor apps in the past. Trezor does not offer an iOS app at all, and Trezor spokesperson said that it had been notifying Apple and Google about fake Trezor apps "for years."

Apple would not provide The Washington Post with the name of the developer of the fake Trezor app, whether that developer had other apps in the ‌App Store‌ under other names, nor would Apple say whether the name was turned over to law enforcement officials. Apple says that it removed the fake Trezor app and banned the developer after the actual Trezor company reported it. Another fake app popped up two days later, and Apple removed that, too.

UK-based cryptocurrency regulation company Coinbase said that it has received over 7,000 inquiries about stolen crypto assets since 2019, and fake apps found in the Google Play and ‌App Store‌ are common complaints. In fact, five people have had cryptocurrency stolen by the fake Trezor app on iOS, with losses totaling $1.6 million.

Data from Sensor Tower suggests that the fake Trezor app was on the ‌App Store‌ from January 22 to February 3, and was downloaded approximately 1,000 times. The 17.1 bitcoin that Christodoulou lost are worth close to $1 million today, and Christodoulou says that he's heard nothing from Apple on the subject.

Another ‌iPhone‌ user who lost $14,000 worth of Ethereum and bitcoin said that an Apple representative told him Apple was not responsible for the loss from the fake Trezor app.

Top Rated Comments

zorinlynx Avatar
41 months ago
Real banks and financial institutions have protections in place to reduce the occurrence of these scams, or at the very least give a hope of getting the money back. With cryptocurrency there is no such hope.

This is another example of why cryptocurrency is a bad thing, on top of being bad for the environment.

EDIT: I love how this reply is exactly as controversial as I expected it to be. :)
Score: 69 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
41 months ago
Wait. I thought the wallet garden app store was suppose to protect people from this, and that's why we don't have other app stores or allow people to download apps from websites. ?
Score: 67 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Braderunner Avatar
41 months ago
Good thing it wasn't real money! :D
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
countryside Avatar
41 months ago
I feel like Apple should be helping this person get their money back...
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mike090910 Avatar
41 months ago
Seems that the Coalition of App Fairness has a solution. Let ANYONE post ANY APP and not be responsible to ANYONE. Sorry, the wild wild west is not a place for apps. Even if a few bad apples come in, better Apple to deal with them.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Villarrealadrian Avatar
41 months ago
Well well well I thought the percentage Apple was charging was for securing the apps in the app store /s
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
General Apps Messages

iMessage Down for Some Users [Update: Service Restored]

Thursday May 16, 2024 3:00 pm PDT by
The iMessage service that Apple users to send messages to one another appears to be down for some users, and messages are failing to go out or are taking an extra long time to send. There are numerous reports about the issue on social networks and a spike of outage reports on Down Detector, but Apple's System Status page is not yet reporting an outage. Update: Apple's status page says...
CarPlay Sound Recognition

Apple Previews Three New CarPlay Features Coming With iOS 18

Wednesday May 15, 2024 9:18 am PDT by
Apple today previewed new accessibility features coming with iOS 18 later this year, and this includes some new options for CarPlay. Apple highlighted three new features coming to CarPlay: Voice Control: This feature will allow users to navigate CarPlay and control apps with just their voice. Color Filters: This feature will make the CarPlay interface visually easier to use for...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M4 OLED iPad Pro

Wednesday May 15, 2024 10:40 am PDT by
Today is the official launch day of the new iPad Pro models, and these updated tablets mark the biggest feature and design refresh that we've seen for the iPad Pro in several years. We picked up one of the new 13-inch models to check out everything new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, Apple is still offering 11-inch and 13-inch size options ...
iphone 15 pro max vs iphone 16 pro max

iPhone 16 Pro Max Looks This Much Bigger Beside iPhone 15 Pro Max

Thursday May 16, 2024 4:51 am PDT by
This year's upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to get a boost in overall size from 6.7-inches to 6.9-inches, and a new image gives us a good idea of how the current iPhone 15 Pro Max compares to what could be Apple's largest ever iPhone. The image above, posted on X by ZONEofTECH, shows a dummy model representing the ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ Max alongside an actual iPhone 15 Pro Max. Dummy...
Delta Hands On Feature

iPhone Emulators on the App Store: Game Boy, N64, PS1, PSP, and More

Thursday May 16, 2024 12:45 pm PDT by
In April, Apple updated its guidelines to allow retro game emulators on the App Store, and several popular emulators have already been released. The emulators released so far allow iPhone users to play games released for older consoles from Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, Atari, and others. A list of some popular emulators available on the App Store so far follows. Released Delta Delta is...