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Google is taking a conscious approach towards identifying risky apps being promoted on its Play Store. In a fresh development, the search engine giant has identified two suspects who could have been using the app storefront to advertise fraudulent crypto apps. In order to deal with this situation, Google has filed a lawsuit against two Chinese nationals residing in mainland China. Google’s major competitor Apple has maintained a policies-based boundary from crypto-related activities, aiming to safeguard its community members from financial risks.

In the lawsuit filed by Google, the company has alleged that the two Chinese nationals were luring people to engage with scam crypto apps, getting them to deposit funds and later blocking access to their deposits, a report by CoinTelegraph said.

The individuals named by Google in the lawsuit are Yunfeng Sun, aka Alphonse Sun, and Hongnam Cheung, aka Zhang Hongnim or Stanford Fischer. In its filing, the tech giant has accused the defendants of having misrepresented their identity, location, and the nature of fraudulent apps in order to have them published on the Play Store.

Google estimates that these malicious crypto apps were collectively downloaded over 100,000 times. One such app that has been named is the TionRT exchange, among at least 87 crypto scam apps that Google has alleged the duo for having advertised and published on the Play Store.

The alleged culprits have been blamed for exploiting the international reach of platforms like YouTube to advertise these apps while also reaching out to potential victims through text message campaigns.

The tech giant is also suing the developers behind these apps for breaching the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (RICO) law. Passed in the US back in 1970, the RICO law aims to eradicate organised crimes.

Over the last few years, the crypto sector has blossomed on an international level, with thousands of cryptocurrencies having been launched in circulation. Taking advantage of this boom, crypto scammers also ramped up their activities and have managed to steal billions of dollars from the community.

Now, several nations are deploying rules to regulate the crypto sector, hoping to make it secure for their nationals to engage with. Fake apps, false high return schemes, scam airdrop promises are just a few ways that scammers have been establishing connections with potential victims.

With the rising number of crypto crimes, platforms like Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store have time and again been reminded by authorities to be vigilant in identifying problematic apps.

In November 2022, for instance, US authorities had asked Apple and Google to provide elaborate details on crypto-related apps available on App Store and Play Store, respectively. The tech giants were also, at the time, asked to explain how and how often they monitor apps that are available for download on their respective app stores.


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