Google removed eight fraudulent mobile apps from the Play Store platform that defrauded cryptocurrency enthusiasts by charging fees for the non-existent BTC cloud mining service.
This is a recent study by Trend Micro, in which its experts have identified dozens of similar mobile applications that promise their users daily rewards for a small investment. At the same time, after the recent “raid” on Google Play, there are still applications of fraudsters, and the number of downloads of some of them exceeds the mark by 100 thousand times. Let’s talk about the situation in more detail.
By tradition, let’s start with an explanation. Cloud mining is the mining of cryptocurrency without the availability of appropriate equipment. That is, in fact, users are offered to invest in companies that will service ASIC miners and video cards, take a certain percentage for their services and send the earned coins to customers.
There really are such platforms. An example of this is the American company Compass Mining, which recently faced the blocking of bank accounts from JP Morgan. The most interesting thing is that before that, among her clients was the head of Twitter, Jack Dorsey.
However, there are also plenty of scammers here. They are especially active in making money through mobile app stores, whose management does not thoroughly check the functionality of such programs.
How cryptocurrency investors are deceived
Most of the aforementioned mobile programs work as follows: the user is asked to make a monthly deposit of about $ 15, and then earn money by watching ads, investing in non-existent mining centers, and so on. In many cases, fraudsters also took the “initial investment” from their victims to start “work”.
It is important to emphasize that mobile fraudsters operate in a different way as well. Most often, they try to extract the so-called mnemonic phrase from victims – that is, a unique combination of 12, 18 or 24 words that is used to create private keys. Thanks to it, you can get full access to the contents of the crypto-address, and from anywhere in the world. To do this, the criminals, among other things, create fake applications that imitate the original ones. Dealing with this is simple enough: never reveal your mnemonic recovery phrase – including in third-party applications.
The list of fraudulent applications includes fake mining services such as BitFunds, Bitcoin Miner, Daily Bitcoin Rewards, Crypto Holic, MineBit Pro, Bitcoin 2021, and an Ethereum mining pool called Pool Mining Cloud. Also on the list is the fake Pool Mining Cloud Wallet.
There are over 120 fake apps still active on Google Play, according to Trend Micro . Here is a quote from company representatives sharing the details of what is happening. The replica is provided by Cointelegraph.
These apps, which are not associated with real mining and trick users into viewing ads, caused damage to more than 4,500 people between July 2020 and July 2021.
Note that in early August, Google allowed ads for cryptocurrency projects. At the same time, the ban on relevant activity has been in effect since June 2018.
Fake apps and browser extensions are some of the most popular tools scammers use to trick their victims. In some cases, installing malware can be huge. Therefore, double-check the applications that you download, and do not use unknown software from suspicious sources.
It’s especially important to remember that app reviews can be fake – even in large numbers. Therefore, under no circumstances share mnemonic phrases from your own wallets in third-party applications. This can be done only in world-famous programs, moreover, downloaded exclusively from the official sites of the projects. Otherwise, the story may end in the loss of funds, which cannot be returned.
We believe that Google representatives need to be more selective about the apps they allow to enter their store. Still, such blunders end in the loss of funds of real people, who, after such an experience, are likely to get a false idea of the digital asset niche and tie up with it. I would like to believe that in the future this situation will change, and that novice investors will face fewer dangers at every step.