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Google Drags Crypto Scammers to Court

2 mins
Updated by Bary Rahma
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In Brief

  • Google sues individuals from China and Hong Kong for deploying 87 fake apps, scamming over 100,000 users.
  • The lawsuit marks a first in the tech industry, addressing over $75,000 in economic damages and breaches of digital trust.
  • The scammers used romance scams, manipulating users into financial exploitation via fake crypto apps and YouTube narratives.
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Google has launched a legal battle against two individuals accused of orchestrating cryptocurrency scams via its Play Store. These scammers, hailing from China and Hong Kong, allegedly deployed 87 sham apps.

Consequently, they duped over 100,000 users, causing significant financial losses.

Google Determined to Fight Crypto Scammers in First of Its Kind Lawsuit

Google’s legal action represents an unprecedented move in the tech industry, showcasing the gravity of the fraud that compromised its Play Store’s integrity and inflicted economic damages exceeding $75,000.

This lawsuit addresses financial discrepancies and also highlights a breach of digital trust. The accused manipulated Google’s platform to facilitate widespread romance scams.

Intricately designed, these scams involved fake crypto exchange and investment apps, misleading users with romantic overtures and convincing narratives on YouTube. The scam’s initial contact often seemed harmless, with messages designed to elicit a response.

According to Google’s complaint, the scammers began their deceit with messages such as “I am Sophia, do you remember me?” or “I miss you all the time, how are your parents Mike?” to entice the victims. Subsequently, this led to financial exploitation on the fraudulent platforms.

Read more: Crypto Social Media Scams: How to Stay Safe

Moreover, the scammers enticed victims to promote these rogue apps, promising commission-based earnings. This tactic further entangled individuals in their deceptive schemes.

Google’s complaint centers on the breach of its terms of service and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The company is seeking judicial intervention to halt further fraudulent activities and to recover unspecified damages.

“This litigation is a critical step in holding these bad actors accountable and sending a clear message that we will aggressively pursue those who seek to take advantage of our users,” Google’s general counsel, Halimah DeLaine Prado, said.

Recent statistics from Chainalysis reveal a disturbing uptrend in romance scams, with an eighty-fivefold increase since 2020. This surge highlights a concerning trend in the crypto ecosystem, where personal and financial vulnerabilities are exploited.

Revenue Growth by Scam Sub-Class
Revenue Growth by Scam Sub-Class. Source: Chainalysis

Incidents like the KK Park in Myanmar exemplify the severe consequences of such scams, where cryptocurrency transactions have facilitated extortion and financial devastation.

Read more: 15 Most Common Crypto Scams To Look Out For

Personal accounts, such as that of an Indian software engineer who lost over $120,500 to a matrimonial site scam, illustrate the harsh realities of digital fraud. These narratives are not just anecdotes but reflect a broader pattern of digital vulnerability and exploitation.

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Harsh Notariya
Harsh Notariya is a journalist and crypto expert that excels in delivering the latest Web3 and Crypto News. Previously, as a Growth Marketer at Sporty and a Community Consultant at Totality Corp, he significantly boosted community engagement and followers. Harsh also crafted engaging content for top crypto influencer Shivam Chhuneja, blending meme references for an educational yet fun experience. His versatile skills make him a notable figure in crypto journalism.