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Google sues alleged China crypto app racketeers: Report

Approximately 100,000 users have downloaded fraudulent apps from Google Play, but the amount of user funds lost remains unknown.



Source: Cointelegraph

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has filed a lawsuit against two people based in China for using the company’s platform for scam cryptocurrency apps that amassed over 100,000 downloads.

Alphabet claims that scammers used its platforms, Google Play and YouTube, to upload and advertise fraudulent crypto apps.

The online giant alleges that the defendants engaged in a pattern of racketeering after committing hundreds of acts of wire fraud. The lawsuit was filed Thursday, April 4, in a federal court in New York, according to an April 4 Bloomberg report.

The scam apps were designed to look like genuine digital asset investments aiming to persuade users to deposit their funds, which users could never withdraw.

Despite Google continually removing fraudulent apps, many have bypassed its fraud detection systems. The two scammers first started uploading the racketeering apps in 2019.

The lawsuit is a crucial step for safeguarding the platform’s users, wrote Halimah DeLaine Prado, Google’s general counsel:

“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.”

Crypto phishing scams up 50% in March

Approximately $71 million was lost to phishing scammers in March across all chains from 77,529 victims, which is a 50% increase compared to February, according to an April 2 X post by Scam Sniffer.

Stolen funds from crypto scams in March. Source: Scam Sniffer

A total of $173 million worth of digital assets were lost to phishing scams in the first quarter of 2024, with 90% of the stolen assets being ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum network.

Phishing scams are a form of social engineering scams where attackers convince victims to share sensitive information or install malicious software of their own accord.

Hacks and exploits have been a growing concern in the crypto industry, especially for decentralized finance applications. A total of $1.8 billion was lost to crypto hacks and scammers in 2023, of which 17% can be attributed to the North Korean Lazarus Group, according to a Dec. 28 report by Immunefi.

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