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Google says two scammers duped it into hosting 87 fake crypto apps on the Play Store

Over 100,000 people fell victim to the scams.

Published onApril 4, 2024

Google Logo as seen at Google Store Mountain View
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
  • Google is suing two scammers it says have threatened the integrity of the Play Store.
  • The two fraudsters are accused of uploading a total of 87 fake crypto apps to the marketplace.
  • Over 100,000 people worldwide were affected by the scams.

The Google Play Store implements a variety of measures to protect users from harmful apps. Despite this, it appears two app developers were still able to get a large number of their fake apps on the marketplace. Now Google is suing the developers for ruining the integrity of the Play Store.

Business Insider reports that Google has filed a civil lawsuit in New York federal court against two app developers. The firm accuses the two of being crypto scammers who tricked it into hosting fraudulent apps in its app store.

The two scammers — one from Shenzhen, China, and the other from Hong Kong — are alleged to have created legitimate-looking cryptocurrency exchanges and investment apps. These two men are said to have then convinced victims through various promotions to invest money through the apps, but wouldn’t allow the victims to withdraw their money, regardless if they made a profit or not.

In the filing, the tech giant says the scams affected over 100,000 people from around the world. These victims were reportedly conned out of anywhere from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars.

On its part, Google says it was able to identify the fraudulent apps and shut them down. However, when one would get shut down, another would end up taking its place. The lawsuit alleges that the scammers were able to trick Google into hosting new fake apps by misrepresenting their identity, location, and intent. In total, the pair were able to upload 87 fake crypto apps to the platform.

The company claims that it spent over $75,000 on investigating these scams. However, the firm appears to be more upset about Google Play’s reputation than about the money it lost, as it reportedly mentions “integrity” dozens of times throughout the complaint.

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