IT could be that we’ve entered the age of cryptocurrency, with this often volatile medium of exchange gaining more and more mass popularity, with even El Salvador becoming the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender. The scammers and hackers are also coming up with new ways to scam people out of their money using the cryptocurrency mining hype.
Last month Google banned 8 such fake cryptocurrency mining apps from the Play Store.
1. BitFunds – Crypto Cloud Mining
2. Bitcoin Miner – Cloud Mining
3. Bitcoin (BTC) – Pool Mining Cloud Wallet
4. Crypto Holic – Bitcoin Cloud Mining
5. Daily Bitcoin Rewards – Cloud Based Mining System
6. Bitcoin 2021
7. MineBit Pro - Crypto Cloud Mining & BTC miner
8. Ethereum (ETH) - Pool Mining Cloud
These malicious apps were flagged by a security farm named Trend Micro. A report from this company mentioned, “Despite these apps not being associated with cloud-mining operations or having any cryptocurrency-mining features, some of these apps prompt users to pay for increased cryptocurrency-mining capabilities via the apps’ in-app billing systems that range from $14.99 to as high as $189.99.” Through those in-app purchases users were convinced that they were upgrading their "crypto mining machines" to mine more coins each day. Apart from the in-app purchase scam users had to view ads, and these apps also had a monthly subscription of $15 (₹1114 approx.)
Our innate desire to get rich quickly is the working principle of these scammers. All of these apps were tricking users to "invest" in "cloud mining services", a new way to mine bitcoin quickly, without the hassle of actually owning a mining machine. In the end, none of these users could retrieve their money, they were scammed out of their hard-earned money.
Though the above-mentioned apps were removed from Play Store, they still remain installed on those smartphones where they have already been installed once. So users have to go through their apps drawer and uninstall any of the above-mentioned apps. What is even more worrying is that TrendMicro claims of more than 120 fake cryptocurrency mining apps are still being used by users completely unaware of its harm! Also, the scammers are working hard every day to put more and more of these cryptocurrency mining apps in the Play Store.
So now the question that arises is, what can one do? Stay away from cryptocurrency mining? Of course not! Only a few smart steps can save one from being victimized by these kinds of scams….
1. Users must check the reviews before downloading any cryptocurrency mining app from Play Store.
2. If any app claims to waive the handling and conversion fees then there's a high chance of that app being fake, as those rates are very high.
3. Another way to find if the cryptocurrency mining app is fake, is by putting a random set of letters and numbers at the cryptocurrency wallet address section. If it accepts anything, then it's a fake cryptocurrency mining app.
4. After mining some cryptocurrency, one should restart their device. If the counter resets to zero, then it's a fake app.
Only following such simple steps and using some common sense can save one from being scammed out of their hard-earned money.