Some people are trying to scam developers out of apps and that is not OK

App Store
App Store (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Some developers are receiving emails from people claiming to have bought their apps, but unable to use them.
  • They claim Apple won't refund them.
  • The end game is to ask for a refund via PayPal or a free app code.

While some people have it in their heads that all developers are living in mansions and driving around in high-end cars, that is very much not the case. Some do very well for themselves, but that is the exception rather than the rule. So when someone targets developers in what seems to be a widespread scam, it hurts.

PCalc developer James Thomson tweeted earlier today to warn developers about a scan he's noticed – and received multiple versions of – that ends up with someone wanting to get either a PayPal refund for an app that won't work or a free App Store code for the app in question.

Scammers claim that they bought an app but aren't able to use it. They also reckon they've reached out to Apple and been refused a refund, so it's on the developer to cough up. But, spoiler, they never bought the app in the first place.

Predictably, James isn't the only one receiving these kinds of messages.

And another.

You'd have to imagine that a ton of these emails would need to go out to developers to even begin to make this a worthwhile endeavor for scammers. But never underestimate the extent people will go to just to get something for free.

Don't scam developers, people. Or anyone, for that matter.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.