Google and Apple have removed over 330 application from their respective app stores on Android and iOS after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) suggested them to in order to aid cracking down on online financial fraud.
Most of the 330 apps that have been banned were illegitimate binary trading platforms which help people bet on whether the value of shares and currencies will rise or fall.
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Although there are legitimate apps to do so too, a lot of illegitimate ones have appeared online.
The main reason for shutting them down is that most of these apps have users beyond the geolocation where they’re subjected to the law of the land.
This means that in the case of a fraud, users will have significant issues getting their money back.
The ASIC conducted a review of apps on the mobile stores associated with binary options and found 330 of them to be entities and individuals that were unlicensed.
“We contacted Apple and Google about the apps that were the subject of this surveillance. We were encouraged with the speed both entities removed the relevant apps identified by ASIC from their respective app stores,” ASIC stated.
Not only were these apps at the risk of exposing users to financial fraud but were also misleading users by their claims such as ‘Earn up to 90% in less than an hour, in fact, you can profit as quickly as 60 seconds and profit as much as 620% via one trade’.
The ASIC also found out that in several cases investors only made money from the app in the demo phase and once it went live, the returns ceased.
“This is a timely reminder for investors to remain vigilant and not fall for flashy advertising or hard selling. In an age where technology can hide who is offering and controlling a product, buyer beware has never been so important. If something appears too good to be true, it probably is,” said Cathie Armour, ASIC.
Apple changed their guidelines for their app store, barring any apps that facilitate binary trading from their app store.