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Google sues alleged crypto scammers for luring people into investments they’d never get back

Illustration of a digital coin on fire.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Google is suing two alleged crypto scammers, accusing them of using its Play Store to offer fraudulent cryptocurrency trading apps and investment platforms that instead simply took users’ money. These apps were used in a type of romance scam commonly called “pig butchering” in reference to fattening a pig before it’s slaughtered.

The accused scammers — two app developers based in China and Hong Kong — allegedly uploaded 87 different fraudulent apps to enable their schemes, luring in more than 100,000 people who downloaded them. Based on user complaints, Google alleges that users lost anywhere from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars each. Apps uploaded by the pair and their unnamed associates have been used in versions of the scam since…

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