Researchers with the Lookout Threat Lab have identified multiple Android applications that steal money from users looking to invest in cryptocurrencies. The team found more than 170 fraudulent Android apps, including 25 on Google Play, that offer cloud cryptocurrency mining services for a fee.
"After analyzing them, we found that no cloud crypto mining actually takes place," researchers wrote in a blog post. "The apps' entire raison d'être is to steal money from users through legitimate payment processes, but never deliver the promised service. Based on our analysis, they scammed more than 93,000 people and stole at least $350,000 between users paying for apps and buying additional fake upgrades and services."
Google has removed the apps from Google Play.
Researchers say the apps were able to fly under the radar because they don't do anything overtly malicious.
"In fact, they hardly do anything at all. They are simply shells to collect money for services that don’t exist," researchers said.
The blog post on the scam can be found here.