In-app purchasing

Beware of In-App Purchase scams on the App Store

IAP scam fake subscription

News flash: the iPhone does not need a virus scanner, malware cleaner or any other bogus system security provided by an app. Third-party iOS apps are sandboxed, meaning they are insulated from the host system. Not only does this enhance security, but it means that any app claiming to perform a "system scan" is outright nonsense. Apps are not capable of scanning, cleaning or protecting any iOS device, including the iPad and iPhone. Despite this, Johnny Lin at Medium has found many of these scams alive and well on the App Store.

How To Disable In-App Purchases

Stories of unsupervised kids racking up thousands of dollars worth of in-app purchases on their parent's credit cards are as old as the App Store, but no matter what Apple does the problem won't seem to go away. Recent headlines about a child buying $1,000 worth of digital donuts to feed Homer Simpson while playing an iOS game, have prompted the U.K.'s Office of Fair Trading to launch an investigation into apps targeting children. Who is ultimately responsible for these purchases is a matter of public debate, but here is how parents can protect themselves in the meantime.

Turn Off In-App Purchases

Here's how to disable in-app purchases on iOS devices: Navigate to Settings -> General -> Restrictions. You will be prompted to create a password if you haven't already done so (You'll have to enter it twice). Once your password is set, tap Enable Restrictions at the top of your screen. Scroll down to the Allowed Content section, and tap the In-App Purchases On/Off toggle.

Apple Sued By Parents Over In-App Purchasing

All of those smurfberry sales have led angry parents to sue Apple over its in-app purchasing policies, thanks to kids racking up credit card bills via iTunes. The problem is that minors playing free games on the iPhone or iPod touch made headlines when hundreds or thousands of dollars in in-app purchases was showing up on their parents' credit card bills.

Smurfs Village app iPhone smurfberries in-app purchase

One notorious game is Smurf Village from Capcom Interactive, which allows the purchase of a $99 wagon of smurfberries. The lawsuit, filed in US District court in San Francisco, states that "these games are highly addictive, designed deliberately so, and tend to compel children playing them to purchase large quantities of Game Currency, amounting to as much as $100 per purchase or more."

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