CocoaChina claims Chinese App Store scammers are costing studios 30% of IAP revenue

CocoaChina claims Chinese App Store scammers are costing studios 30% of IAP revenue
If the testimony of one Chinese developer claiming to the victim - rather than the perpetrator - of the in-app purchase (IAP) scam currently hitting the App Store didn't convince you, the addition of another account adds further weight to the case.

CocoaChina – which is behind one of the largest iOS communities in the region – claims it has witnessed virtual currency being sold at a discounted price on Chinese online auction site Taobao.

Those behind the scam pass on the details of iTunes accounts attached to fraudulent credit cards to the buyer, who then charges the IAP to the dodgy account.

Black practice

It's a practice the outfit claims can result in a 30 percent drop in IAP revenue, and could explain the seemingly random appearance of Chinese games in the top grossing charts in both the US and UK.

Many of the so-called 'black cards' are attached to iTunes accounts made outside China – a tactic employed so the developers themselves aren't made aware of any revenue discrepancies in the region.

Inside Mobile Apps claims the scam is being used to buy paid apps, too, with the seller purchasing the app with a fraudulent credit card before gifting it to the buyer.

Obviously the cost of such single transactions is generally much lower than scamming IAP, which can be as high as $99.

In response, CocoaChina has claimed it's set about monitoring sites such as Taobao for all such activities, with IAP revenue rising by 30 percent since the studio went on high alert.

No Apple aid

The company's account follows that of another Chinese publisher who told us it had nothing to do with any such scams, despite one of its apps shooting up the top grossing chart in the US. 

Users posted reviews on the App Store claiming they'd never downloaded the game, nor spent any money on IAPs, yet had seen - in some cases - up to $200 withdrawn from their iTunes accounts.

In response, the publisher in question told us it had previously drawn Apple's attention to this scam, but to no avail.

"We're trying our best to fight against this issue," the publisher told

"If we find a fraudulent payment, we will block the cheater's account. We also have staff trawling the exchange sites and if we find someone is trying to sell virtual items for our games, we will contact them and get that transaction banned."

[source: Inside Mobile Apps]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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