A Trend Micro report claims that over 120 fake crypto-focused apps are still operational on the Play Store, some exceeding over 100,000 downloads.
Google has delisted eight allegedly fraudulent mobile apps from its Play Store that were duping crypto enthusiasts by charging fees for an illegitimate cloud mining service.
Fraudulent mobile applications have now become a popular method to mislead unwary customers with high success charges. Trend Micro’s latest research discovered eight Android applications that were exploiting crypto enthusiasts by charging a monthly fee under the false pretext of operating a professional cloud mining service.
Additional evaluation into the matter uncovered that the malicious apps hosted by Google — posing as crypto mining purposes — have been deceiving customers into watching paid advertisements and paying for a cloud mining service that does not exist.
In response to the report, customers weren’t only being charged a monthly fee of approximately $15 but were additionally subject to more payments for enabling “elevated mining capabilities.” As well as, among the apps required an upfront cost from the person.
The reportedly fraudulent crypto apps included mining companies such as BitFunds, Bitcoin Miner, Each day Bitcoin Rewards, Crypto Holic, MineBit Pro, Bitcoin 2021, and Ethereum (ETH) – Pool Mining Cloud. The record also features a crypto wallet service named Bitcoin (BTC) – Pool Mining Cloud Wallet.
Whereas the above findings have been reported to Google Play and have been reportedly removed from the Play Store, Trend Micro claims to have spotted numerous other fraudulent apps which have been downloaded over 100,000 instances. The company’s data suggests that over 120 fake apps still exist on the Play Store:
“These apps, which do not have cryptocurrency mining capabilities and deceive customers into watching in-app advertisements, have affected more than 4,500 users globally from July 2020 to July 2021.”
On Aug. 3, Google revised its ad policy which permits crypto exchanges and wallet services to market their merchandise to Google users. As part of this drive, advertisers have to be registered with Financial Crimes Enforcement Community as a “cash services business and with at the least one state as a money transmitter or a federal or state-chartered financial institution entity.”
However, the established policy prevents initial coin offerings, businesses and celebrities from shilling cryptocurrencies. On the other end of the spectrum, social media giant TikTok has resorted to completely banning crypto advertisements on its platform, a move similar to Google’s previous policy back in 2018.