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Apple Claims Its App Store Blocked Over $1.5 Billion in Fraudulent Transactions in 2020

By Eric Volkman – May 11, 2021 at 8:46PM

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The timing of the company's announcement doesn't seem random or accidental.

Apple (AAPL 0.20%) is a vigilant and effective guardian against consumer fraud, or at least the company would like people to believe that. The tech giant said in a press release Tuesday that its App Store software marketplace prevented over $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions last year.

According to Apple statistics, the App Store rejected over 48,000 apps for being loaded with hidden or undocumented elements and more than 215,000 for privacy violations. Around 1 million transgressing customer accounts were banned from making transactions entirely.

A hooded hacker using phones and a PC.

Image source: Getty Images.

"While it's impossible to catch every act of fraud or ill intent before it happens, thanks to Apple's industry-leading antifraud efforts, security experts agree the App Store is the safest place to find and download apps," the company wrote in the press release.

In what's probably not a coincidence, the announcement came just after the start of an important antitrust lawsuit that prominent developer Epic Games brought against Apple. The dispute centers around the fairly hefty fee (typically 30%) Apple charges developers that sell apps and add-ons through the App Store.

The fight began when Epic built a workaround into its Fortnite game, with which users could bypass the App Store and make purchases directly from the developer. Apple unceremoniously removed Fortnite from its platform, then pulled Epic's developer account.

It should be noted that Epic got into a similar dispute with Alphabet, whose Google Play platform had basically the same pricing regime.

Given that the trial is sure to be closely watched and very contentious, it seems that with its security announcement Apple is trying to beef up the reputation of the App Store. Perhaps if consumers see the platform as beneficial and protective rather than predatory, it might win the Epic dispute in the court of public opinion, at least.

 

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Eric Volkman owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Apple. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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