Google Play has let scammers into its store again

1 month ago · 0 comments

A new category of activity tracking apps has been a huge hit on Google Play, the official Android app store, of late. Developers advertise them as apps for building healthy habits, for improving health, as pedometers, etc. A distinctive feature of these applications is that they promise the user very real rewards for achieving goals. For example, the ability to withdraw real money to your bank card.

However, according to a recent report from Dr.Web, rewards may not be available to cash out or are only partially available after forcing users to view a huge number of advertisements.

Dr.Web report lists three notable examples of such applications:

Dr.Web reports that all three applications interact with the same remote server address, which indicates a common operator / developer, despite the differences in the application card. At the time of writing, all three applications are available on Google Play.

The antivirus company says the apps do not allow withdrawals before users have accumulated a significant amount of rewards. And even then, they promise to unlock "earnings" only after watching more than a dozen commercials.

In addition to these signs of fraudulent software, Dr.Web reports that an earlier version of "Lucky Step - Walking Tracker" offered the ability to convert rewards into gift cards that users could use to purchase items from real online stores. However, this feature has been removed in recent versions of the app.

Many users on Google Play have left angry reviews for these apps. For example, in reviews for "Lucky Step - Waling Tracker" it is reported that the application incorrectly counts user activity, underestimating the indicators. There are a lot of advertisements, and it is not possible to withdraw the promised funds.

Another example of a similar app that is still available on Google Play is "Wonder Time", which has already amassed 500,000 downloads. The app promises real money rewards for completing various tasks, such as installing other apps and games. However, the tokens that users receive for each action are negligible compared to the minimum withdrawal threshold set by the developer. Thus, only the developer remains in the black here. And the user is wasting time and resources of his device.

Judging by the hype raised, it seems that the moderators will soon pay attention to these applications and remove them from the store. However, factors such as adding them and being in the store for a long time, as well as millions of downloads, cast doubt on the quality of Google Play moderation.