Apple quietly adds an App Store feature for reporting scam apps

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,205   +882
Staff member
In context: Over the weekend, Apple added a button to individual apps in the App Store, allowing users to alert the review board to programs they believe are scams. The company has had this feature in the past, but it was buried at the bottom of the general App Store page rather than on individual app listings and was not very intuitive.

Not only was the previous version somewhat hard to find, but it also did not have a dedicated option for reporting scams. The closest users could get was the slightly vague "Report suspicious activity." Kosta Eleftheriou pointed out the feature on Sunday via Twitter, noting that Apple "quietly" re-added the button after removing it several years ago.

The button still functions mostly the same. Tapping report a problem sends users to a dedicated website where they can choose to request a refund; report a quality issue; find their content; report offensive, abusive, or illegal content; or report a scam or fraud. It is also specific to the chosen app rather than having to describe and detail the offending program.

The new and improved report button is just one of several App Store changes Cupertino has made in the last few months. Just last week, Apple began allowing users to review built-in iOS apps in their store listings. In August, the company settled a class-action lawsuit filed by developers that included several changes to its App Store policies.

It remains to be seen how diligent Apple will be responding to issues reported using the button. Still, it is at least a decent step in weeding out apps that force users to leave a good review, or worse, ones that scam people out of their cryptocurrency.

Permalink to story.

 

Phaetos

Posts: 42   +40
That's great, but can we get one to report scam/spam text and phone calls?!?!?!?! How is this not a thing after all these years. Daily I get at least one random-*** text message sent to 20 people that I have to go thru and block each contact individually.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,205   +882
Staff member
That's great, but can we get one to report scam/spam text and phone calls?!?!?!?! How is this not a thing after all these years. Daily I get at least one random-*** text message sent to 20 people that I have to go thru and block each contact individually.
This happens to me daily too and only as of recently. The FCC did start cracking down on robocalls, which, at least theoretically, should have reduced the number of them, but it didn't since so many of them are out of the FCC's jurisdiction. What it did do, however, is start this new text message spamming, which is arguably even more annoying. I suspect this is happening because of a loophole in the FCC's new rules, but I don't really know.

What I do know is is that there is no need to bock all of those numbers. All of the numbers but one are victims just like you. Many times you will notice the numbers are in blocks, like this:
555-555-8001
555-555-8002
555-555-8003
555-555-8004
555-555-8005
555-555-8006
555-555-8007
555-555-8008
with your number being one of those.

Often the text message is not even originating from a phone number, but rather from an email address like ahole@yahoo.com <-Block that. Other times it will be a phone number but it's easy to tell because it's completely different from the block of numbers like 321-555-9876 <-Block that.

Sometimes it's harder though because the numbers appear more random so it's hard to tell which is the spamming number. However, at least for iPhones, the number originating the text message will be the last one on the list (this is also true for the above examples whether it's an email or a phone number.

I'm not sure how Android lists bulk-sent messages like that, but I'm sure you can find a similar pattern. If you can determine the pattern, you can skip having to block every single number and just block the one. It's still a pain in the rump, but until phone makers can figure and implement a better way to block it's just what we have to do.

On that note, it does not seem like it wouldn't be difficult to implement some type of software feature that intercepts text messages with multiple numbers and asks the user, "You have a group message from [number or email]." Then give you the option to either accept it (if it's someone you know of course) or delete and block the sender. That seems like it wouldn't be too hard to implement in theory, but then again I don't know much about how iOS and Android handle incoming carrier data.
 

Phaetos

Posts: 42   +40
This happens to me daily too and only as of recently. The FCC did start cracking down on robocalls, which, at least theoretically, should have reduced the number of them, but it didn't since so many of them are out of the FCC's jurisdiction. What it did do, however, is start this new text message spamming, which is arguably even more annoying. I suspect this is happening because of a loophole in the FCC's new rules, but I don't really know.

What I do know is is that there is no need to bock all of those numbers. All of the numbers but one are victims just like you. Many times you will notice the numbers are in blocks, like this:
555-555-8001
555-555-8002
555-555-8003
555-555-8004
555-555-8005
555-555-8006
555-555-8007
555-555-8008
with your number being one of those.

Often the text message is not even originating from a phone number, but rather from an email address like ahole@yahoo.com <-Block that. Other times it will be a phone number but it's easy to tell because it's completely different from the block of numbers like 321-555-9876 <-Block that.

Sometimes it's harder though because the numbers appear more random so it's hard to tell which is the spamming number. However, at least for iPhones, the number originating the text message will be the last one on the list (this is also true for the above examples whether it's an email or a phone number.

I'm not sure how Android lists bulk-sent messages like that, but I'm sure you can find a similar pattern. If you can determine the pattern, you can skip having to block every single number and just block the one. It's still a pain in the rump, but until phone makers can figure and implement a better way to block it's just what we have to do.

On that note, it does not seem like it wouldn't be difficult to implement some type of software feature that intercepts text messages with multiple numbers and asks the user, "You have a group message from [number or email]." Then give you the option to either accept it (if it's someone you know of course) or delete and block the sender. That seems like it wouldn't be too hard to implement in theory, but then again I don't know much about how iOS and Android handle incoming carrier data.
Yes, I know that the last number in the list is usually the originating spammer. But the resulting problem then becomes everyone else on that list deciding to REPLY to the text attempting to get the spammer to stop sending messages to them. Ugh! So I just block them all, I don't know them anyway and never will. My blocked list is so long, I can't even count how much of the US area codes are probably completely blocked now :)
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,205   +882
Staff member
Yes, I know that the last number in the list is usually the originating spammer. But the resulting problem then becomes everyone else on that list deciding to REPLY to the text attempting to get the spammer to stop sending messages to them. Ugh! So I just block them all, I don't know them anyway and never will. My blocked list is so long, I can't even count how much of the US area codes are probably completely blocked now :)
Haha. Fortunately, I have not had that problem yet--knock on wood. Seems like most of the group messages I have gotten that have other valid numbers have the same mindset as me (us). Block and ignore.