Google sues alleged cryptocurrency scammers for luring people into investments they can never recoup

Google is suing two alleged cryptocurrency scammers, accusing them of using its Play Store to offer fraudulent cryptocurrency trading apps and investment platforms. instead Just take the user’s money.These apps are used in a romantic way A scam commonly known as “pig killing” Refers to fattening pigs before slaughter.

Accused Scammers – Two App developers based in China and Hong Kong — apparently uploaded 87 different scam apps were used to carry out their scheme, attracting over 100,000 people to download them. Based on user complaints, Google claims users lost anywhere from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars each.Apps uploaded by the duo and their unnamed colleagues According to Google, the scam has been used in different versions since at least 2019.

Google said it was the first among its peers to take such action. It has shut down the apps on the Play Store once it identified them as fraudulent. “This lawsuit is a critical step in holding these bad actors accountable and sending a clear warning,” Google general counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado said in a statement. “Our message is , we will aggressively pursue those who try to take advantage of our users. Google said it was also harmed by the program because it threatened the “integrity” of its App Store. and divert resources to detect and disrupt operations. The company said the investigation into the fraud resulted in more than $75,000 in financial losses.

According to Google’s complaint, the alleged scam worked like this: Developers would create fake cryptocurrency trading and investing apps, falsely represent to the Play Store that they were legitimate investing apps, and allegedly lie about details such as location so that they could be uploaded these applications.Scammers or their associates will use various methods to lure users to use the platform romance scam Messages and YouTube videos. While this type of scam is often referred to as “pig slaughter,” Google said in a footnote to its complaint that it does not adopt or endorse the term.

The complaint alleges that the text messages they initially sent may look familiar to anyone who receives spam messages, such as “I’m Sophia, do you remember me?” or “I’ve been missing you, how are your parents Mike?” Like?” If they get a response, the alleged scammers will apparently try to start a conversation, eventually moving it to a platform such as WhatsApp, and then convince their new “friends” to download one of the fraudulent apps and invest money.

Developers or their associates also sometimes convinced alleged victims that they could earn commissions by selling the apps themselves as “affiliates” to the platform, according to the complaint.

Google claims that developers will make the platform look convincing by showing balance and return on investment once users use the apps. The only problem is: users can’t withdraw their funds. Sometimes the app lets them withdraw small amounts of money, and withdrawals come with a fee or minimum balance, which ends up scamming some people out of more money, according to Google.

Google accused the developer of violating its terms of service and violating the Scammer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It asked the court to stop them from committing further fraud and award Google an unspecified amount in damages.

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