Top Crypto and Bitcoin Scams Found in Google Play Store

May 20, 2021 - How-To Articles, VBit Against Crypto Scams

Crypto Scam Google Play

For most people, anything on Google Play Store checks out. 

After all, this is the official Android application store.  This assumption hardly goes wrong because most people use only apps they know. However, it is not always that an app on Google Play Store is safe. The app store does screening for apps regularly, but some still fall through the cracks.

Crypto scams have also popped up on the Google Play Store in the recent past. Scammers know that having an app on such a trusted platform can be lucrative. VBit is against scams and warns users against such apps. Anyone can fall victim because of the semblance of legitimacy that the Play Store listing creates. 

These apps use a range of tactics. Exchange scams, phishing scams, and fake crypto wallets are a sample of the rot. Scammers know that people can easily trust an application on Google Play Store. 

Fake cryptocurrency apps that scam users out of their digital currency and steal personal details have got attention. 

Here are some crypto and Bitcoin scam apps that caught traction on Play Store:

  1. Fake Trezor Wallet App

Scammers know that crypto wallets contain the goods. Trezor is a popular hardware wallet. Researchers at Cybersecurity firm ESET uncovered a fake Trezor wallet on Play Store. The app aimed to scam users on the false belief that they were depositing funds in a real Trezor wallet.  However, it harvested credentials and connected to another fake app called ‘Coin Wallet – BTC, XRP, Ethereum, USDT.”

It had nothing to do with the real Trezor app. The scammers simply misused Trezor’s branding to defraud users. Real Trezor wallets are hardware devices that require physical manipulation and authentication.  There is no way this fake app could access actual Trezor wallets. 

The scammers released their app to capitalize on Trezor’s reputation. They launched the app in February 2019 intending to trick users into sending crypto to a scammer’s wallet. ESET reported the fake app to Google, and they took action to remove it. However, they had some time to rip off unsuspecting victims. 

Such is the brazen behavior of scammers. The fake app did not pose a direct threat to Trezor wallets. Unfortunately, the customer data they obtained could be a danger to those users. 

  1. Reddit Users Spot Two Scam Apps on Play Store 

When it comes to social media, Reddit arguably contains the sharpest lot. This platform offers unique insights into all manner of topics. Crypto enthusiasts have made it their mainstay. There are many subreddits where vibrant crypto discussions take place. 

It was, therefore, fitting that Reddit users spotted two fake wallets on Play Store. A developer called “CryptoWallmart” uploaded these apps back in 2018. The apps did not take off but still got 100-500 downloads each. This number might seem small, but it only takes a handful of significant Bitcoin deposits for scammers to obtain enough loot. 

The apps went by the names ADA Cardano Crypto Wallet” and “All Crypto Currency Wallet.” Redditors speculated that the fake wallets launch coincided with the release of Cardano’s Daedalus wallet. The first wallet even used the official Daedalus logo. Unfortunately, users could send crypto to addresses on the app only for the wallets to go cold. The second wallet seemed to target all other coins. 

Google has since taken down these apps. However, the fact that they got there in the first place is a worry. VBit warns users against scams through fake apps.  They are a present danger, and all coin owners should be aware of this threat.

  1. Malware That Mines Crypto Using Your Device

In 2017, scammers developed an app that contained mining malware. They released this app to Google Play Store. Cybercriminals launched a fake Cooee game to mislead users. The app had malware that used mobile hardware to mine Monero in the background.

This brazen app compromised the security of user devices. Hackers also used Malware to mine crypto using the computers of unsuspecting victims. 

This app got over a thousand downloads. Once on your phone, it would open a background web view. The app would then mine crypto and send crypto to a designated wallet. 

This scam does not make much sense. Today, mining major cryptocurrencies using a PC or mobile is counterproductive. Bitcoin mining, for instance, is too competitive for PC mining. 

Still, it represents a breach of privacy. Mining is a legitimate activity only when done voluntarily. Using the resources of other people to mine without their knowledge is illegal. Mining can also heat up a computer or phone. The CPU utilization when mining is beyond that of ordinary computer tasks. 

Tips for Avoiding Fake Apps 

These apps, though sporadic, have devastating consequences for victims. Malware is a present danger for users. Google and other application stores try and control content. However, the examples above show that scammers can still get their way. It is advisable to be proactive and take the following measures:

  • Only trust crypto apps with links from an official website of service. Crypto apps often come with specific services. If it is for a wallet service, it should have an official website to create credibility. Apps that spring out of nowhere can be a slippery slope.
  • Confirm the security of an app before trusting it with your data. Scammers can use fake apps as a front for collective information like email addresses. They then use this data for activities like phishing scams. Be wary of insecure websites that demand sensitive information.
  • Use antivirus protection. Apps with malware have a harmless front but do all manner of things in the background. A strong malware protection system will alert you of malicious background activity on your device. 
  • Avoid shady advertisements- most links to fraudulent apps come from equally suspicious adverts. Flashy adverts that promise too much often lead to nefarious ends. Steer clear of such bogus advertisements to be on the safe side. 

Keep Your Guard Up, Work with Reputable Institutions

Crypto developed as an alternative industry with an independent streak. However, certain names have created solid reputations over the years. For instance, for exchange services, Coinbase and Binance immediately come to mind. 

In Bitcoin mining equipment manufacturing, Bitmain is the first name you think of.

Accordingly, there are reputable and professional institutions within crypto. VBit sources its equipment from Bitmain for this reason. You can rely on them to supply quality equipment. 

Similarly, apps of Google Play Store are not equal in reputability. Some are more trustworthy. Extend this approach to the apps you install on your phone. The possibility of having a scam application lowers with this approach.

VBit informs our users of these apps for a good reason. Cryptocurrency is hot again, and the scammers will come like sharks smelling blood. Better safe than sorry.

For mining, VBit Mining advises users to store mined Bitcoin in wallets offered by trusted providers. Anyone who mines using our hosting service knows that this activity needs patience and maintenance. Therefore, it would not be wise to trust a fake Bitcoin wallet with your crypto.

Nonetheless, there is still enough reason to believe in crypto. Take time to research and enact safety precautions to be on the safe side. 

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