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US senator grills Apple & Google about fraudulent crypto apps

Bitcoin illustration

Last updated

A U.S. lawmaker has sent a letter to Apple and Google asking for clarification on how they prevent fraudulent cryptocurrency apps on the App Store and Google Play Store.

Sen. Sherrod Brown — who chairs the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs — penned two letters addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, respectively, on July 27.

In the letter, Sen. Brown asks for details on the "measures your company is taking to prevent fraudulent activity in your app store."

"In recent years, crypto trading platforms and exchanges have experienced a surge in popularity with millions of investors downloading mobile apps to trade and invest in digital assets," Sen. Brown wrote. "Millions of Americans use mobile apps to invest in unregulated digital assets, including cryptocurrencies."

More specifically, Brown appears to be concerned about reports of "fake crypto apps that have scammed hundreds of investors."

The senator's letter comes in the wake of an FBI report detailing fraudulent cryptocurrency apps and wallets that purported to be sound investment opportunities. The report warned that 244 investors had been scammed out of $42.7 million by fraudulent apps.

In his letter, Brown is asking for Apple and Google to provide details about their app review processes, the steps they take to prevent fraudulent crypto apps, and other information. He has asked both companies to respond by Aug. 10.

Apple has been slammed by accusations of enabling crypto fraud on its App Store in the past. Back in 2021, a man accused the company of allowing a fraudulent app that stole more than $600,000 worth of Bitcoin from him.

The Cupertino tech giant has also been a target of fraudsters in the past. Back in 2020, scammers compromised Apple's official Twitter account to promote a Bitcoin scheme. However, that type of crypto scheme is not detailed in Sen Brown's letter, which is focused on fraudulent apps and wallets for iPhone and other devices.