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Apple bans developer who allegedly scammed online iTunes store

The company says it removed apps from Thuat Nguyen of Vietnam for violations 'including fraudulent purchase patterns.' Tech blogs reported that customer accounts had been accessed to buy his apps.

July 06, 2010|By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times

In the wake of reports that Apple Inc.'s online iTunes store had been scammed, the company said Tuesday it has banned a Vietnamese developer and removed his applications from the venue.

"Developer Thuat Nguyen and his apps were removed from the App Store for violating the developer program license agreement, including fraudulent purchase patterns," Apple said in a statement.

The company did not provide any other details about the incident, which came to light after iTunes customers complained their accounts had been accessed to buy applications from Nguyen.

Nguyen could not be reached for comment.

Over the holiday weekend, technology blogs reported on the alleged scam. said that Nguyen had gamed the system to take 42 of the top 50 sales positions in the store's book category.

The scam, reports said, affected a few hundred customers, with some being charged up to $600 for items they had not purchased.

That's a tiny number of patrons compared with the more than 100 million accounts on iTunes.

Apple is famous for tightly controlling which applications can be offered in the store, and developers have complained about the lengthy process. But that approach boosts security, Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin said.

"Here we have one small instance of the Apple app store being gamed a little bit. It's testimony to just how good a job Apple has done in terms of curating that app qualification and verification process," Golvin said. "It's been so rare that its rarity is the newsworthiness."

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