Developer Exposes Multiple Scam Apps on the App Store, Some Bringing in Millions of Dollars in Revenue

Over the past several weeks, developer Kosta Eleftheriou has been highlighting many apparent scam applications on the App Store. The formula for each scam application is virtually identical, and it centers on fake reviews and ratings paired with a deceptive weekly subscription. From a report:

Eleftheriou is the developer behind FlickType, a popular Apple Watch keyboard application that brings gesture typing to the wearable device. He was also one of the creators of the Flesky keyboard app, acquired by Pinterest, and Blind Type, acquired by Google. The thread began two weeks ago, when Eleftheriou began highlighting applications that were essentially non-functional ripoffs of FlickType. One of the most blatant ones was KeyWatch: “Just a few months ago, I was way ahead of my competition. By the time they figured out just how hard autocorrect algorithms were, I was already rolling out the swipe version of my keyboard, quickly approaching iPhone typing speeds. So how did they beat me? First, they made an app that appeared to fulfill the promise of a watch keyboard – but was practically unusable. Then, they started heavily advertising on FB & Instagram, using my own promo video, of my own app, with my actual name on it.”

When users downloaded the app, the first screen was a blank interface with an “Unlock now” button. Tap the “Unlock now” button, and you’d be prompted with Apple’s buy screen to confirm an $8/week subscription for an app that was nonfunctional.

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