Man loses BTC worth $1M to fake Trezor app

Phillipe Christodoulou lost 17.1 BTC, worth an estimated $1 million, which he said he bought via a digital currency wallet app called Trezor on the Apple App Store.

The iPhone user suffered a loss of nearly $1.01 million as per BTC’s trading price of $59,194.26 at press time. After downloading the app from the Apple App Store, Christodoulou keyed in his seed phrase and then lost all his BTC.

Christodoulou, a dry cleaner by profession, suffered losses since the pandemic, which urged him to sell a part of the BTC he had accumulated to boost his dying business. Knowing the volatility of BTC and after browsing the App Store to find the right app, he purchased the wallet to secure his stash securely. 

As CoinGeek reported in December, Trezor warned users of its hardware wallet about a phishing scam it said was related to an earlier hack on one of its competitors. The company said the attackers claim a user’s wallet has been disabled, before redirecting to a clone site to steal their credentials.

Dismayed at the app, Christodoulou is even more disappointed with Apple. When asked by the Washington Post, he said, “They betrayed the trust I had in them. Apple doesn’t deserve to get away with this.”

Christodoulou is not the only Apple user who fell victim to this app. James Fajcz, an engineer from Georgia, went through the same ordeal. In December, he bought $14,000 worth of BTC on Coinbase and then bought a Trezor Model T hardware wallet for additional security. After keying in his seed phrase on the app, he lost all his BTC.

Fajcz told the Washington Post, “This was a trusted app on the Apple App Store, which claims to be the best and most trusted app store. And this nefarious app gets on the platform? I feel Apple should be held partially or fully responsible for that.”

According to Coinfirm, a U.K. digital currency fraud investigation company, the ‘fake’ Trezor app duped several Apple users of $1.6 million and Google users of $600,000.

When enquired by the Washington Post, Apple insisted that it thoroughly checks every app it publishes on the App Store. “User trust is the foundation of why we created the App Store.” a spokesperson at Apple said.

However, the company spokesperson further said Apple could not account for the fraudsters, claiming they must have applied for publishing approvals as a legitimate app before pivoting to scamming. Apple has a strict policy against such behavior as the company removed 6,500 apps for hidden or undocumented features in 2020.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, Blockstream, ShapeShift, Coinbase, Ripple and
Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

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