Google Drags Alleged Scammers To Court Over Fake Crypto Investment Apps

Google sues Crypto Scammers

On Thursday, Google filed a lawsuit against two Chinese individuals in a New York federal court, alleging their exploitation of the Google Play app store to perpetrate scams involving fake cryptocurrency investment applications.

Yunfeng Sun, based in Shenzhen, and Hongnam Cheung, located in Hong Kong, are accused of orchestrating a scheme that defrauded thousands of users, resulting in significant financial losses since 2019.

Google’s lawsuit accuses Sun and Cheung of racketeering and violating the company’s terms of service and other policies. Despite attempts to contact them, Sun and Cheung have not responded to the allegations.

Halimah DeLaine Prado, Google’s general counsel, emphasized the company’s commitment to online safety and its intolerance for platforms being misused for cryptocurrency scams. Prado stated that legal action against such bad actors is essential for accountability.

According to the complaint, Sun and Cheung employed a “social engineering” strategy, enticing victims to their apps through deceptive text messages. These messages, appearing to be from unknown numbers, would initiate conversations with victims, often developing false friendships or romantic connections.

Once victims were drawn in, the fraudsters persuaded them to invest through the apps, allowing only minimal withdrawals of purported “returns.” When users attempted to withdraw larger sums, they were coerced into paying additional funds. Complaints to the supposed “friends” or “romantic partners” providing guidance would yield no response as they vanished.

The lawsuit further alleges that Sun and Cheung utilized YouTube videos, social media advertisements, and counterfeit press releases to enhance the credibility of their apps.

Over the past four years, Google has disabled 87 fake apps associated with Sun and Cheung, which were downloaded by nearly 100,000 users worldwide.