Apple News

Apple Blocks $7 Billion in Fraudulent App Store Transactions

From 2020 through 2023, Apple says it prevented a combined total of over $7 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions, including more than $1.8 billion in 2023 alone. In the same period, Apple blocked over 14 million stolen credit cards and more than 3.3 million accounts from transacting again.

As digital threats have evolved in scope and complexity over the years, Apple has expanded its antifraud initiatives to address these challenges and help protect its users. Every day, teams across Apple monitor and investigate fraudulent activity on the App Store, and utilize sophisticated tools and technologies to weed out bad actors and help strengthen the App Store ecosystem.

Apple found that in 2023, it rejected more than 1.7 million app submissions for failing to meet the App Store’s stringent standards for privacy, security, and content. In addition, Apple’s persistent efforts to stop and reduce fraud on the App Store resulted in the termination of nearly 374 million developer and customer accounts, and removal of close to 152 million ratings and reviews over fraud concerns.

Apple has developed robust systems to root out fraudulent customer and developer accounts quickly and effectively to prevent such actors from defrauding users. In 2023, Apple terminated close to 118,000 developer accounts, a decrease from 428,000 terminations from the prior year, thanks to continued improvements to prevent the creation of potentially fraudulent accounts in the first place. In addition, more than 91,000 developer enrollments were rejected for fraud concerns and prevented from submitting problematic apps to the App Store.

Harmful activity can also occur at the customer account level, and Apple takes a number of measures to protect users and developers from ill-intended parties. These accounts tend to be bots that are created for the purposes of spamming or manipulating ratings and reviews, charts, and search results, which threaten the integrity of the App Store and its users and developers. In 2023, Apple blocked over 153 million fraudulent customer account creations and deactivated nearly 374 million accounts for fraud and abuse.

Apple’s commitment to trust and safety extends beyond the App Store, having detected and blocked more than 47,000 illegitimate apps on pirate storefronts from reaching users over the last 12 months. 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.
Additionally, in the last month, Apple stopped nearly 3.8 million attempts to install or launch apps distributed illicitly through the Developer Enterprise Program, which allows large organizations to deploy internal apps for use by employees.

Apple’s App Review team of over 500 experts evaluates every single app submission — from developers around the world — before any app ever reaches users. On average, the team reviews approximately 132,500 apps a week, and in 2023, reviewed nearly 6.9 million app submissions while helping more than 192,000 developers publish their first app onto the App Store.

App Review conducts a number of checks before any app makes its way onto the store, and leverages automated processes and human review to detect and take action on apps with the potential to harm or defraud users. In 2023, more than 1.7 million app submissions were rejected for various reasons, including privacy violations and fraudulent activity.