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Google says crypto fraudsters are making it look bad

Grace Eliza Goodwin   

Google says crypto fraudsters are making it look bad
CryptocurrencyCryptocurrency2 min read
  • Google is suing two crypto scammers it says threatened the integrity of its platforms.
  • Scammers tricked Google Play into hosting 87 fake crypto apps, conning over 100,000 users, Google says.

Google says crypto scammers are hurting the integrity of its services.

The Alphabet-owned tech giant filed a civil lawsuit in New York federal court on Thursday against a pair of crypto scammers, alleging they duped the company into allowing fraudulent apps on Google Play.

Through those apps, Google says in the filing, the scammers managed to con over 100,000 people around the world out of anywhere from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars each.

Google accuses the two scammers — an app developer based in Shenzhen, China, and another based in Hong Kong — of creating apps that purported to be legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges and investment platforms. The lawsuit alleges the fraudsters tricked Google into accepting their apps on its app store, Google Play, by misrepresenting their identity, location, and intent.

And every time Google realized one of the apps was a scam and shut it down, the fraudsters would find a way to create and upload another to Google Play, resulting in a total of 87 fake crypto apps.

The company says the two men would promote their apps in YouTube videos and through text message campaigns, convincing their victims to invest money through the app and not allowing them to withdraw it, even after the victims had made apparent financial gains.

Google alleges the fraudsters didn't just exploit the company's innocent customers, but also exploited Google, costing it over $75,000 in expenses and resources put toward investigating the scams.

And Google is peeved that these scammers made it look bad — the company mentions the "integrity" of its platforms a dozen times throughout the suit.

"By using Google Play to conduct their Fraud Scheme, Defendants have threatened the integrity of Google Play and the user experience," the lawsuit states. "Defendant's scheme has thus impaired Google users' confidence and trust in Google, its services, and its platforms."

A spokesperson for Google told Business Insider that the company is committed to weeding out fraud, and this lawsuit is just the start.

"Keeping people safe online is core to our business and we will not tolerate the misuse of our platforms to facilitate cryptocurrency scams," Google's general counsel, Halimah DeLaine Prado, told BI. "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."