From Elon Musk impersonators on Twitter to dodgy Discord chats, cryptocurrency and non-fungible token (NFT) scammers have stolen billions of dollars from investors over the past few years. But now politicians and law enforcement are turning their attention to Apple and Google — companies that run massive app stores — and how they scrutinize fraudulent crypto apps.
In letters Thursday to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) asked the companies to explain their app review and approval processes. of crypto trading and wallet to download on their app stores. Brown’s investigation follows a recently released FBI report warning that 244 investors were defrauded out of $42.7 million by fraudulent cryptocurrency apps pretending to be credible investment platforms in less than a year. .
“Cryptographic mobile apps are publicly available through app stores, including the Apple App Store,” the senator wrote to Cook on Thursday. “While cryptocurrency apps have offered investors easy and convenient ways to trade cryptocurrency, there have been reports of fake crypto apps that have defrauded hundreds of investors.”
Apple and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Earlier this month, several federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Justice, began taking action against scammers accused of stealing millions, if not billions, from dollars to consumers. Even as the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies plummeted, the prevalence of scams continued to grow.
In the letters, Brown asked CEOs to detail their processes for reviewing and monitoring crypto apps to prevent apps from “turning into phishing scams.” It also searches for any information that Apple and Google have provided to consumers about fake investing apps.
“While companies that offer crypto investments and other related services should take the necessary steps to prevent fraudulent activity, including warning investors about the rise of scams, it is also imperative that app stores implement places appropriate safeguards to prevent fraudulent mobile app activity. “wrote the senator.
The investigations came hours before the Senate Banking Committee, chaired by Brown, is due to hold a hearing with cryptocurrency experts on ways Congress could mitigate scams in the crypto and securities markets. movables.
Apple and Google have until August 10 to respond to the senator’s requests.