iTunes accounts emptied by fake transactions

Apple's cash cow iTunes is coming under fire after users have noticed that their accounts have been emptied by phantom transactions apparently originating from rogue Chinese developers.

The Next Web is reporting that a number of iTunes account holders have been charged for in-app purchases for games which had not only never been authorised, but had never downloaded or installed either.

The main culprit seems to be a Chinese Texas hold 'em app developed by the Boyaa Company Limited, though it remains to be seen whether the back-door purchases originate from within the company or are being made by unrelated hackers.

The majority of the accounts which were hacked were 'in credit' because cash from iTunes gift cards had been added to the account balance.

It has been suggested that it's the gift cards - which may have been purchased from outfits outside of Apple's walled garden including eBay - that may have been compromised, but Apple is remaining tight lipped.

The company is rolling out a standard response that it is dealing with the issue and will get back to unlucky punters within 12-24 hours, but forum posts suggest that some are waiting up to two weeks to get a satisfactory response from the Cupertino company.

Apple's lack of response is all the more surprising as multiple complaints have been made against the same developer and yet the offending app still remains available for purchase.

If it had a nipple in it, it would have been yanked immediately.

If you have an iTunes account, particularly if it is in credit because you have cashed in an iTunes gift card, we'd suggest you might like to keep an eye on it for any unauthorised transactions.