Global: Google Takes Legal Action Against Crypto Scammers Exploiting Play Store

Google Takes Legal Action Against Crypto Scammers Exploiting Play Store
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Google has initiated legal proceedings against two app developers who allegedly perpetrated a fraudulent scheme through the Google Play Store, enticing users to download investment apps under false pretenses.

The tech giant has accused the developers, based in China and Hong Kong, of distributing 87 deceptive apps that duped over 100,000 individuals into downloading them since 2019. Google estimates that victims collectively lost anywhere from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars each.

These malicious apps operated as part of an elaborate scam known as the “pig-butchering romance scam,” orchestrated by a network of fraudsters aimed at ensnaring unsuspecting victims. Initially, scammers would initiate contact with individuals through romance scam messages or YouTube videos, subsequently coaxing them into downloading the seemingly legitimate apps from the Play Store.

Upon accessing the investment apps, users were manipulated into believing that they could generate profits through investments, with the app even facilitating small withdrawals to create a façade of legitimacy. However, users soon discovered that their funds were inaccessible, and they were coerced into paying fees to unlock withdrawals.

Google emphasized that it has taken decisive action as the first company to combat this form of fraudulent activity. Additionally, the company incurred significant financial losses, exceeding $75,000, in its efforts to investigate and address the scam.

Through legal action against the perpetrators, Google aims to hold accountable those responsible for perpetrating such deceptive schemes and to safeguard users from falling victim to similar scams in the future.

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