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PSA: Fake apps – watch out for App Store scams

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This week saw a high-profile scam slip through the net of the App Store review system, reminding us all to be wary of imitators and clones when browsing for apps and games.

The hugely popular Xbox One game Cuphead – an action shooter inspired by 1930s animations – was briefly available on the App Store on Monday for the relatively low price of $5/£5. Or so it seemed! Though the screenshots, description, and even the developer’s name looked legitimate, this was an imitator at work. The scammers went to great lengths to publish a functional but extremely limited knock-off as if it was a genuine iOS port of the game, even producing a fake website promoting their version game.

Some things really are too good to be true, and there is no word that Cuphead’s true creators, Studio MDHR, intend to bring the game to the App Store.

Apple has a review system in place that’s intended to stop this kind of hoax appearing, so it’s rare to see this kind of malicious download appear on the App Store. Mistakes do happen though and so it’s worth knowing what to do if you end up paying for a useless app.

We were fooled, as were many others, but luckily Apple has a system in place to refund customers in case of any issues with an app purchase. There are a few ways to request your money back, and if you’ve been tricked by this or a similar scam you’ll want to use Apple’s “Report a Problem” system to get a refund.

For more details on exactly how to get your money back, check out our guide to getting a refund for a digital purchase.