About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use DMCA Opt-out of personalized ads
© Copyright 2023 Market Analyst. Market Analyst is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.
Market Analyst Logo
Market Analyst Logo

Google Takes Down Fake Crypto Investment Apps in Legal Blitz

The victims lost anywhere from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars each, as per the complaint.
Cover Image Source: Google | Getty Images | Photo by David Paul Morris
Cover Image Source: Google | Getty Images | Photo by David Paul Morris

In today's digital age, where innovation converges with the vastness of the internet, opportunities abound alongside risks. Cryptocurrency, with its promise of decentralized finance and transformative potential, has captured the attention of millions worldwide. However, amidst genuine opportunities lurks a shadowy realm of deceit and exploitation. A recent lawsuit filed by Google against two Chinese developers sheds light on the proliferation of fake cryptocurrency investment applications.

The exterior of the new headquarters of Google is seen at 550 Washington Street in Hudson Square | Getty Images | Photo by Michael M. Santiago
Image Source: The exterior of the new headquarters of Google | Getty Images | Photo by Michael M. Santiago

The lawsuit, filed in a New York federal court, accuses Yunfeng Sun and Hongnam Cheung of orchestrating a sophisticated scheme aimed at defrauding unsuspecting users through fraudulent cryptocurrency apps.

Operating within the confines of Google's Play Store, the two allegedly deployed a range of deceptive tactics to lure users into their web of deceit, resulting in significant financial losses for countless victims since 2019. The victims lost anywhere from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars each, as per the complaint.

Central to their modus operandi was the exploitation of social engineering techniques. Leveraging text messages purportedly originating from erroneous numbers, the fraudsters initiated conversations with potential victims.

The victim would receive a text message such as "I miss you all the time, how are your parents, Mike?" If they replied, even with a "wrong number," the developers or their associates would attempt to build a friendship or romantic connection to persuade the victim to download one of their crypto apps and make a deposit.

The Mango Market Scam Outbusted | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Pixabay | Pexels

Once they fell into the trap, victims were enticed with promises of substantial returns on their investments. However, the reality was much worse as users discovered their ability to withdraw funds was restricted.

Requests for larger withdrawals were met with demands for additional payments, effectively entrapping victims in a cycle of financial exploitation.

Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Worldspectrum
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Worldspectrum

Moreover, Sun and Cheung employed a multi-faceted approach to add some legitimacy to their fraudulent endeavors. Utilizing YouTube videos, social media advertisements, and fabricated press releases, they sought to create an illusion of credibility around their fake apps.

These deceptive tactics made users believe they were engaging with legitimate investment opportunities, further facilitating the perpetration of the fraud. Google disclosed that it has disabled 87 fake apps linked to this scheme in the last four years. Surprisingly, these apps had almost 100,000 downloads globally, showing the extent of the deceit carried out by these individuals.

"Defendants made multiple misrepresentations to Google to upload their fraudulent apps to Google Play, including but not limited to, misrepresentations about their identity, location, and the type and nature of the application being uploaded," Google's complaint reads.

Image Source: Unsplash | Christian Wiediger
Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Christian Wiediger

Beyond the immediate financial losses inflicted upon victims, the ramifications of such fraudulent activities extend far and wide. In response to these nefarious activities, Google has taken a decisive stance against cryptocurrency scams, emphasizing its commitment to safeguarding users from exploitation.

In the complaint, the company cited TionRT, Starlight, and SkypeWallet as some of the fraudulent apps. The company is seeking unspecified damages and requesting the court to prohibit the defendants from accessing any Google services.