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Google sues crypto scammers using Play Store to lure victims

Google sues crypto scammers using Play Store to lure victims

Google is suing two app developers who lured victims into downloading fraudulent investment apps on the Google Play Store.

The two app developers based in China and Hong Kong were accused by Google for uploading 87 false apps and tricking over 100,000 people to download them since 2019. Google estimates that victims lost between $100 to tens of thousands of dollars each.

These apps were a type of pig-butchering romance scam that involves a complex ring of scammers focused on deceiving the victim. The scammers would entrap victims through romance scam messages or YouTube videos, and once engaging them in a conversation would persuade them to download the apps, staged to appear legitimate on the Play Store.

Once on the investment apps, fraudsters would convince users that they could gain money through investments, even allowing them to withdraw small amounts of money at a time. However, after a short time no money could be withdrawn from the app and the user would asked to pay a fee if attempting to do so.

Google stated that it was the first company to take action against these types of scammers, and they also lost over $75,000 in investigating the fraud.

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