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Google sues crypto scammers who exploited app store

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is cracking down on cryptocurrency scams by suing two Chinese nationals who misused the company’s app store to con victims out of money. The tech giant filed a lawsuit in a New …

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is cracking down on cryptocurrency scams by suing two Chinese nationals who misused the company’s app store to con victims out of money. The tech giant filed a lawsuit in a New York federal court on Thursday against Yunfeng Sun from Shenzhen and Hongnam Cheung from Hong Kong.

The lawsuit states that Sun, residing in Shenzhen, and Cheung, located in Hong Kong, orchestrated a scheme dating back to 2019. Through this scheme, they lured unsuspecting victims into downloading and investing funds into bogus crypto platforms hosted on Google’s app store. Some users reported losses amounting to tens of thousands of dollars each.

Google accuses the defendants of violating the company’s terms of service and policies prohibiting fraudulent activities. Halimah DeLaine Prado, Google’s general counsel, underlined the firm’s commitment to user safety, stating, “Keeping people safe online is core to our business, and we will not tolerate the misuse of our platforms to facilitate cryptocurrency scams.”

The court filing alleges that Sun and Cheung used deceptive tactics, including sending unsolicited text messages to initiate conversations with potential victims. They then cultivated perceived friendships or romantic connections to gain trust before persuading individuals to invest through the fraudulent applications.

To further the illusion of legitimacy, the defendants allegedly created YouTube videos, social media advertisements, and fabricated press releases promoting their fake crypto investment platforms.

While the applications initially permitted small withdrawals of purported profits, victims who attempted to withdraw larger sums were instructed to pay additional fees. Those who complained or questioned the process were subsequently ignored or abandoned by their supposed online “friend” or “romantic partner.”

Over the past four years, Google has identified and disabled 87 fraudulent applications created by Sun and Cheung, which had been downloaded by nearly 100,000 users globally before being removed from the Play Store.

Through this lawsuit, Google aims to hold the alleged perpetrators accountable and prevent further exploitation of its platforms for cryptocurrency scams targeting unwary users.


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