Google Play reportedly has several apps that claim to be able to mine “unmineable” crypto assets such as XRP. These apps take advantage of consumers’ desire to turn an easy crypto profit, even if they lack technical knowledge regarding cryptocurrency and the mining process.
Scam Apps Do Not Actually Give Crypto to Android Users
Some of the scam apps in the Google Play Store actually don’t mine crypto. Instead, they display advertisements that make the device they are stored on vulnerable to viruses. If the user taps an ad, the virus can automatically download itself without the user’s knowledge or permission.
Other apps do use the device to mine cryptocurrency, but do not actually give the Tcrypto to the user. Instead, the apps function similarly to “cryptojacking” viruses and hijack a user’s device to mine crypto and give it to the app’s creator.
Google Play Possibly Ignoring Genuine Scams?
The fake mining apps have reportedly been on Google Play’s app store for a while and have a high number of downloads. This contradicts Google’s supposedly strict policy regarding on-device mining apps and other potentially fraudulent crypto apps. Meanwhile, Google Play has a history of removing legitimate crypto-related apps like wallets that are not fraudulent.
To be fair, putting down crypto scams can seem nearly impossible. Twitter bots promising fake ETH giveaways have gotten so bad that it may have triggered a temporary lock on Elon Musk’s account when he jokingly tweeted, “Wanna buy Bitcoin?” Scams have run the gamut from blackmailing emails to fraudulent ICOs to the now-infamous Bitconnect.
However, Google appears unable to tell the difference between a legitimate crypto app and a fraudulent one. Perhaps Google Play simply lacks crypto experts who can spot a fraud a mile away.
What Can Android Users Do?
One of the best things that users can do is realize that some cryptocurrencies are unmineable and it is nearly impossible for any old Android device to turn a profit mining crypto. Even if a mining app is legit, Android device owners are not likely to get much more than the equivalent of a few Satoshis before giving up.
Users should also mistrust anything that does not come from a well-known, trusted source. Nearly all of the most trustworthy Bitcoin wallets will be listed on Bitcoin.org, for instance. If an app promises results that would naturally be beyond the capacity of typical Android hardware, then that’s an app to avoid.
It would be nice if Google Play staffers would have more time and better expertise for taking down fraudulent crypto apps. Until then, users should take responsibility for the safety of their devices and avoid any app that isn’t a well-known, reputable one.