Google sues alleged scammers for distributing fraudulent crypto apps on Play Store

Google claims to be the first company to take this legal action. It aims to hold scammers accountable and message them that it will aggressively pursue those who exploit its users.

Buisinessman holding google logo

Google has initiated legal action against two alleged crypto scammers for distributing fraudulent cryptocurrency trading apps through its Play Store, deceiving users and extracting money from them. Based in China and Hong Kong, the accused developers uploaded 87 deceptive apps that reportedly conned over 100,000 individuals. According to Google, users suffered losses ranging from $100 to tens of thousands per person due to these schemes, which have been operational since at least 2019.

The lawsuit marks Google’s proactive stance against such scams since Google swiftly removed the fraudulent apps from its Play Store. The company’s general counsel, Halimah DeLaine Prado, emphasised that holding these bad actors accountable is crucial to safeguarding users and maintaining the integrity of the app store. The company claims it incurred over $75,000 in economic damages while investigating this fraud.

The scam reportedly enticed users through romance messages and YouTube videos, urging them to download fake cryptocurrency apps. The scammers allegedly misled users into believing they could profit by becoming affiliates of the platforms. Once users invested money, the apps displayed false investment returns and balances, preventing users from withdrawing funds or imposing additional fees, ultimately leading to more financial losses.

Google’s legal action accuses the developers of violating its terms of service and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The company seeks to block further fraudulent activities by the defendants and aims to recover unspecified damages. The legal move represents Google’s commitment to combating app-based scams and protecting users from deceptive practices on its platform.