FinCEN

Technology brings comfort, prosperity and makes life easier, right? But there’s a price tag to it. Today, we know that in our fast-paced tech-advanced world we have also seen crime getting advanced and far techier than it was. Breaking into your house to steal your money and assets sounds very antiquated now. As we have done a long journey from the medieval barter system to gold and silver coins. From coins to paper and now crypto, which nobody can steal from your pocket or safe in your basement. But thievery has also become more technical now.

A security firm based in California named Lookout, recently revealed that many fake cryptocurrency android apps have scammed thousands of users who purchased them. Such android apps are promoted and portrayed to be the source of earning money by mining cryptocurrencies. But sadly, at the backend, there are not any such mining functions going on but merely a showoff on the front end to the user. Users are rather charged in the name of so-called enhancements, upgrades, or improvements to enhance the throughput of their currency.

As per the report, the scammers scammed 93 thousand users through Google Play Store, by selling phony crypto apps. These mobile apps simply mime the frontend part for cloud mining platforms. This shows their business model of just cheating their users, who think that they’re actually mining crypto. Lookout detected 175 apps, out of which 25 were available in the Google Play store while others could be downloaded from third-party markets

In comparison to some alike apps which skim off their buyer’s private data, these apps do nothing at all. They’re rather barely noticeable and hardly noticeable. That’s why they remained untouched and unnoticed on Google Play Store for so long.

There have been various reports of scamming and corruption in crypto as it drew more and more public attention and crypto prices hiked in the market. Countries around the world are seriously considering these threats. Russian lawmakers are going to bring legislation that will allow them to not only control crypto assets but also confiscate them. As per official sources, the reason is the growing need to combat crimes like scams, corruption, and bribery. Banks in the UK like Barclays and Santander have barred payments to crypto exchange Binance in the wage of their customer’s protection.

Such paid, scam apps have expensive subscription plans and high-priced upgrades in the name of improving the mining experience. Subscribers are fooled by thinking that these apps are really mining the currencies. Vague numbers displaying on the screen with a fancy user interface, make it look real. However, when users try to withdraw currency, they end up getting an error message.

These apps were further categorized into two groups, called Bitscam and Cloudscam. The difference between the two is that Cloudscam apps only accept payment from Google Playstore. Whereas, Bitscam apps also accept payment in cryptos like Ethereum and Bitcoin. Lookout estimates that by investing in these apps, people have lost a minimum of $350 thousand.

Although Google removed these apps from Playstore, however, they’re still available in third-party app marketplaces. With the boom in the world of cryptocurrency, many inexperienced new users are diving into this ocean to try their luck. The scammers are well aware of this fact, and try to take full advantage of this situation. Therefore, Lookout has warned the new users to be extra cautious and pay attention before boarding this train and buying any crypto mining apps.

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