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Apple Says App Store Stopped $1.8B in Fraudulent Transactions in 2023

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Apple’s App Store blocked over $7 billion in fraudulent activity from 2020 through 2023.

It also stopped more than $1.8 billion in fraudulent transactions in 2023 alone, Apple said in a Tuesday (May 14) press release.

To combat fraud, Apple has dedicated teams that monitor and investigate fraudulent activity daily, according to the release. These teams use tools and technologies to identify and remove bad actors from the platform.

As a result, from 2020 to 2023, over 14 million stolen credit cards and more than 3.3 million accounts were blocked from transacting again, the release said.

Apple also implemented systems to detect and terminate fraudulent accounts, per the release. In 2023, nearly 118,000 developer accounts were terminated, and over 91,000 developer enrollments were rejected due to fraud concerns. Additionally, Apple blocked over 153 million fraudulent customer account creations and deactivated almost 374 million accounts for fraud and abuse.

Beyond the App Store, Apple detected and blocked over 47,000 illegitimate apps on pirate storefronts in the last year, preventing users from accessing potentially harmful software, according to the release.

Apple’s App Review team helps maintain the integrity of the App Store by using automated processes and human review to detect and act on apps that could harm or defraud users. Over 1.7 million app submissions were rejected in 2023 for various reasons, including privacy violations and fraudulent activity, the release said.

App Review also identifies deceptive tactics employed by bad actors, such as apps initially misrepresenting themselves as harmless but later transforming into pirate movie streaming platforms, illegal gambling apps or fraudulent loan issuers, per the release. In 2023, App Review removed or rejected 40,000 apps from developers engaged in bait-and-switch activity. Additionally, over 248,000 app submissions were rejected for violating Apple’s policies against spam, copying other apps or misleading users.

Apple uses secure payment technologies like Apple Pay and StoreKit to protect users’ financial information, according to the release. Apple Pay uses device-specific numbers and unique transaction codes, eliminating the need to store card numbers on devices or Apple servers. Credit and debit card numbers are never shared with developers, enhancing security. Apple also employs advanced technology and human review to detect and prevent the use of stolen credit cards for illicit purposes.

The report comes at a time when Apple’s App Store has been under regulatory scrutiny in Europe and elsewhere. Europe has been a region of some regulatory back-and-forth for the company, and the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit against Apple earlier this year.