The prevalence of fraudulent and Fake Crypto Apps that cost Android users real money has been highlighted by a recent wave of bans.
Cryptocurrencies are becoming more popular, but as interest grows, so does the creativity of scammers looking to take advantage of a cultural shift to defraud people. According to a recent report by Trend Micro’s cybersecurity team, the Google Play Store now has a slew of fake crypto mining and wallet apps that are duping users into paying for bogus services like cloud mining and storage.
Eight apps in particular are singled out in the report:
- Bitcoin 2021
- Bitcoin Miner – Cloud Mining
- Bitcoin (BTC) – Pool Mining Cloud Wallet
- BitFunds – Crypto Cloud Mining
- Crypto Holic – Bitcoin Cloud Mining
- Daily Bitcoin Rewards – Cloud Based Mining System
- Ethereum (ETH) – Pool Mining Cloud
- MineBit Pro – Crypto Cloud Mining & btc miner
Most of these apps were hiding one of the same two fake mining apps—either Trend Micro labeled “AndroidOS_FakeMinerPay” or “AndroidOS_FakeMinerAd”—that dupe users into paying for fake cloud mining services, usually at a $15 recurring monthly fee. In reality, none of the apps actually mined or paid out cryptocurrencies to the users.
Some of the apps also promoted paid advertisements and additional in-app purchases, and at least two of them—Crypto Holic and Daily Bitcoin Rewards—were premium apps that users had to pay to download.
Following Trend Micro’s report, Google removed these apps from the Google Play Store. Although delisted apps are disabled and removed from any devices on which they were downloaded, it’s still a good idea to double-check that they’re gone from your Android phone if you downloaded any of the apps listed above.
There are still more fake crypto apps out there
Unfortunately, Trend Micro’s researchers claim that even after these bans (and Google’s revision of its own crypto policies), there are still more than 120 other fraudulent crypto apps available on the Play Store right now. Over 100,000 people have downloaded some of them. And until it’s proven that these apps are, in fact, committing crypto fraud, they won’t be called out or removed.
Make sure you thoroughly vet each piece of software you download, as we remind you every time one of these malicious app stories surfaces. Stick to well-known apps and developers, and read the ratings and reviews—including those on reputable sites such as the Google Play Store. It’s also worthwhile to conduct a quick internet search or seek a second opinion on a reputable discussion forum.
Related: How to Turn Your Android Phone Into a Free High-Res Webcam
Even so, malicious developers will go to great lengths to make their apps appear legitimate. If you’re not sure if an app, service, or special feature is real, don’t pay for it. Don’t give out your payment information or personal information if you have any doubts. If you’ve already paid for an app that claims to provide cloud mining services but haven’t received any results, it’s most likely a scam. Delete the app and report it as soon as possible.