Apple and Google have removed a total of 330 binary trading apps from their respective app stores, following intervention from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission.
Australia’s securities regulator requested the removal of the apps based on fraud investigations, concerning certain apps which allow users to make bets about whether or not shares and currency will rise or fall. While some apps that do this are legitimate, others have been linked to scams.
Example cited by ASIC included ones where customers were unable to withdraw cash after winning, or ones which allowed users to (apparently fraudulently) win 9 out of 10 demo trades, only for them to lose everything once switching over to the live product. Of the apps removed, 80 percent offered no warnings about trading risks.
According to Greg Yanco, head of market integrity at ASIC, some of these apps make “outrageous claims.” Yanco said that they don’t just affect consumers in Australia, but are an “issue globally.”
It’s not clear from the report what the exact breakdown was in terms of Apple’s iOS App Store and the Google Play store, nor is it obvious where the apps in question originate from.
Apple has said that it prohibits all new apps designed to facilitate binary options trading, although it won’t elaborate on its discussions with Australian authorities over the matter.