There’s nothing quite like that sick feeling in your stomach when you notice an unauthorized charge appear on your bank statement. Immediately, you think, even if I get this taken care of, it’s going to involve trips to the bank, phone calls to the far reaches of the Asian sub-continent and perhaps weeks without access to your debit card.
This morning, when I checked my bank account online, I got that feeling after noticing a series of charges from Itunes on my account. Thus far, someone has spent nearly $300 purchasing episodes of crappy TV shows and poor games.
If it had just happened to me, I’d be annoyed and think that perhaps I failed to have a strong enough password. It seems that’s not the case, though, as a growing number of users are reporting unauthorized purchases on their accounts:
A number of iTunes accounts have been hacked from across the globe, not just the US, and used to purchase apps.
The app developer that began this entire investigation has now had their account (and apps) removed, but we’ve discovered a number of other developer accounts with very similar, if not more “innovative”, approaches to stealing users money. The Apple App store is filled with App Farms being used to steal.
iTunes users have reported anywhere between $100-$1400 spent using their accounts.
A quick search of Google and Twitter reveals the same pattern for many users. Even given that, it’s hard to be upset at Apple. Unfortunately, things happen. Hackers exploit systems. That, while frustrating, is understandable.
Apple’s response, however, is not.
The company who told its phone users they were holding them incorrectly is suggesting that the hack is minimal, despite evidence to the contrary. What kind of support do they offer? A friendly Mac genius waiting by the phone? No, an e-mail form with a 48 hour turnaround for a canned response ultimately leading to an agreement not to challenge when your bank disputes the charges. In the end, the consumer is the one inconvenienced by Apple’s failure to secure its store.
That’s just unacceptable and underscores the the truth about Apple’s claims to be a different kind of company. When it comes to consumers, they will spin, obfuscate and deny just like the rest. It’s very disappointing.
In the end, after a series of annoying steps like cancelling my card and getting these charges reversed, I’ve learned my lesson. I won’t be buying any more music from a company that won’t practice effective security measures or pursue real customer service.