Android app scams users into purchasing fake Ethereum
Google has taken steps to try and control the amount of extraneous and questionable cryptocurrency-related applications found on the Play Store. However, it isn’t able to stop them all, as evidenced by a recent scam that has taken potential Ethereum (ETH) enthusiasts for a ride.
Similar to scams seen in the past on sites such as eBay, users have already been bilked out of hundreds of thousands through the app. It looks legitimate enough, developed by a company called Google Commerce Ltd, and costs $388. It promises to provide each downloader with one ETH (ETH is currently valued at $274 and hasn’t seen more than $364 since August 9), and it does what it says. It delivers one ETH after the app is downloaded and installed – in the form of an image of exactly one ETH token.
According to the app’s page on the Play Store, it has been downloaded more than 100 times. This means that, at $388 a pop, the person or persons behind the fraud have already made $388,000, if not more. Fortunately, the app has now been removed – only after the news of the scam broke – but not before the developer(s) made a nice little profit.
Since Play Store app developers have to give a portion of their proceeds to Google, it, too, reaped the rewards of the malicious fraud, which had been on the site for over a year.
To be fair, Google removed over 70,000 questionable apps last year, an increase of 70% over the year prior. It is trying to control fraudulent activity, but every now and then something is bound to slip by. Google has worked hard at identifying apps that impersonate crypto exchanges and wallets, as well, as those that install malware on phones and tablets that can turn the devices into crypto miners.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. This is an age-old adage that applied a hundred years ago, and that still applies today. There will always be those individuals too lazy or too ignorant who only want to try and make a quick buck, no matter the impact it has on others. Be cautious, be vigilant, be aware.
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Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins.
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