Getting your iOS app of 3 years wiped out by scammers with fake ratings - or - “Apple, how on earth can you look away?”

Ridiculously many reviews on seemingly random days. The ratings gap between the 28th and the 30th speaks more than a thousand words.
These were among the first reviews my app has received shortly after its launch in 2017. The scammer scraped the review texts from my app and put the reviews on their own app.
The whole “Good but needs improvements” review was initially posted on MY app
Perfect score on the reviews from people that seem to hate the app?
  • The developer claims it is the “Top Rated” app - technically not a lie when you look at the data above, the problem is how it got there.
  • The developer uses screenshots… my screenshots!
User review that complains about an advertised feature, the promise to unlock the feature with a subscription, then get told that this feature is not available yet.
A) Thank you for providing a screenshot of those reviews.B) We are investigating this reported issue and will contact you if more information is needed.C) We can assure you our case has been routed to the appropriate Apple teams for review and consideration.


Some notable screenshots, ratings and reviews for completeness

IAP to unlock the app’s only feature. Violation of App Store Guidelines misleading users to get an app with “free” content.
All top 3 reviews are from English names, remaining top 9 all Asian - on the GERMAN App Store
User calls me “Alex”. Which is my name - the problem is that it’s not my app. The rest of the ratings text, surprisingly, are random phrases (that make no sense in combination) that have been copied from numerous reviews on MY app.
Top 2 review on the US App Store praises my app - except that it’s on the competitor app’s review section (with Asian names)
Top 2 review on the GB App Store is THE SAME review that mentions my app and how quick I respond. This review has been posted on MY app 2 years ago. Top 3 review is the same as Top 1 review on US App Store
Impossible-to-dismiss popup forcing users to review the app.
Russian user points out the false promise of the in-app payment and the poor soul doesn’t know how to cancel
The app promises to be able to display profile pictures. The catch is that it can’t. Remember, on paper this app is the best-rated app out there.
Spanish user understands the scam. It would be nice if more people did. Or at least someone Apple.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
WatchChat Alex

WatchChat Alex

Developer of the WatchChat for WhatsApp on Apple Watch app