The pandemic has changed many aspects of our daily lives. Many people continue working or going to school from home and online retail is still booming.
While some picked up hobbies and learned new languages, others got into investing. Cryptocurrency was an attractive option during the pandemic, as fears of government restrictions on traditional stock trading arose. Social media threw its hat in the ring, driving more people towards crypto. Tap or click here for Kim’s crash course on digital currency.
It’s a sad truth that any popular activity involving money will attract bad actors and crypto is no exception. Scammers are out there working hard to get your money and you need to be vigilant.
Security research firm Lookout found more than 170 Android apps posing as crypto trading services and scamming people out of money. The apps promised cloud crypto mining services in exchange for payment, but no mining was done at all.
The apps used familiar payment methods such as Google Play’s in-app payment service and even accepting Bitcoin and Ethereum. The report shows that $350,000 was stolen between 93,000 people.
The money came from purchases of the app itself ($300,000) as well as upsells for more features and services ($50,000). Google removed the apps from Google Play, but not before the damage was done.
Some of the scam apps include the following: Mining Machine, Cloud Mining, Black Crypto || Pro Miner, Moon BAT, BITO HASH, Bito Holic, BTC Cash, Bit Pro Miner and MR Bitcoin.
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BitScam and CloudScam
Lookout divided the apps into two groups: BitScam and CloudScam. They both promise cloud mining services, in which users rent cloud mining computers rather than contributing their own, taking a share of what’s mined. CloudScam apps offered upgrade plans, referral bonuses and daily rewards to bilk users out of more money.
BitScam apps offer additional “virtual hardware” for users, increasing their shares. The price here ranged from $12.99 to $259.99.
The apps mimic legitimate cloud mining services that offer apps to their users. The scam apps show hash mining rates and earned coins but all of this is smoke and mirrors. The numbers don’t mean anything at all.
Exercise the same caution with crypto apps as you do with any others. Do your research, read reviews and contact the company if you can. If you find it hard to do any of these things, stay away.