Hundreds of scam apps caused a surprise $42 monthly charge to land on millions of Android users’ wireless bills

Android smartphone
  • Millions of Android users were plagued by scam apps that placed charges on their wireless bills.
  • Users were tricked by a fake prize into providing their phone numbers, Zimperium reported.
  • Google says that all of the apps identified by Zimperium have been removed from the Play Store.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A massive scamming campaign recently plagued the Google Play Store, affecting millions of Android users.

The scam took place via more than 200 apps run by attackers to scam money from its downloaders, security firm Zimperium reported.

Zimperium, a member of the Google App Defense Alliance which scans applications before publishing in the Google Play Store, estimates that 10 million Android users globally were affected by this scam.

The applications posed as seemingly normal downloads, hiding under facades like “Photo Effect Pro,” “Daily Horoscope & Life Palmestry,” and “Free Coupons 2021.” The apps would notify downloaders that they won a prize and would redirect them to enter their phone number on a specific webpage.

However, by entering their information, users were actually submitting their phone number to an SMS service that would start charging their phone bill about $42 per month.

“Forensic evidence of this active Android Trojan attack, which we have named GriftHorse, suggests that the threat group has been running this campaign since November 2020,” Zimperium stated in their findings. “These malicious applications were initially distributed through both Google Play and third-party application stores.”

Scams like GriftHorse take advantage of small screens, local trust, and misinformation to trick users into falling for their scams and downloading their apps, Zimperium explained. They also prey on “frustration or curiosity” when they try to accept their fake prize. According to Zimperium, the “level of sophistication, use of novel techniques, and determination” of the threat actors had allowed them to remain undetected.

Google says that all of the apps identified by Zimperium have been removed and the developers of the apps have been banned, but the scam will have lasting effects, WIRED reported. Android users who have not stopped the charges have faced unwanted additions to their wireless bill of over $230.

To prevent scams, the Federal Communications Commission recommends consumers “think twice” before clicking any links and to report any unusual activity. If you sent money to a scammer, the Federal Trade Commission recommends your report the payment right away to reverse the transaction before filing a report with the FTC who can build a case against the scammers.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to avoid losing money to fake or shoddy contractors on home improvement projects

construction worker looks at laptop
Here’s how to avoid contracting and home repair scams.

  • Researching contractors on Google and social media before you sign a contract is crucial.
  • Asking certain questions during interviews can help spot problematic contractors.
  • Experts say you should avoid paying more than 30% of the total project cost up front.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

With the home-improvement industry booming and homeowners increasingly opting to hire professionals for remodels, some experts are urging customers to be wary of potential scams.

“There are rough characters in the industry,” Ross Smith, a salesman at RL Rider Remodeling, said. “You can be out of money in a hurry.”

Smith highlighted some warning signs that could indicate a scammer or unscrupulous contractor:

  • The contractor asks for a large deposit for a project up front. Paying more than 30% of the costs right away is unusual among professionals and can be a sign that the contractor is planning on ditching you before finishing, Smith said. Though there are exceptions to this (such as a big project that requires expensive materials), the contractor should always have a good reason to ask for a big chunk of the payment right away, he said.
  • They are advertising a much lower price than anyone else. This could point to a lot of different issues, including the possibility that they’ll stack on costs later on by charging you for small changes to the project, experts said.
  • They waive the deductible. A deductible is the amount of money someone pays out of pocket before home insurance pays expenses. Waiving a deductible is illegal in some states, and the contractor might make up for it by not completing the project or cutting corners with quality, said Ty Smith, co-owner of Smith & Ramirez Roofing.

Contractors also shared some tips to help homeowners verify the legitimacy of a home-improvement business.

  • Do a thorough check of Google and Yelp reviews, and sign up for Angi (the home services website formerly known as Angie’s List). It’s also a good sign if the contractor is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
  • Check if the company has a website and see if they’re updating their social media with photos of completed projects. Both can be a sign that they’re operating a legitimate business, especially if they’re engaging with customers on social media. “If one guy is half the price of everybody, doesn’t have a website, just has an Instagram account, you get suspicious,” Ross Smith said.
  • Give yourself enough time to consider a host of different options, and don’t be afraid to listen to your gut if you feel someone is untrustworthy.
  • Ask probing questions during interviews with contractors, including questions about how they handle change orders, whether they’re licensed, and how long they’ve been operating.
  • Ask your contractor for a copy of their insurance policy, and then call the insurance company to verify that the contractor is covered, Ty Smith said. This can ensure that you’re not liable for any accidents that might happen on the job.
Read the original article on Business Insider

Americans, ready to book vacations again, could be prime targets for scammers, and 2 senators want more protections for travelers

travel tourist bag airport vacation plane luggage
  • Rising vaccination rates means that tourism is on its way back – and so are travel scammers.
  • Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Steve Daines have called on the FTC to do more to protect travelers.
  • “It is critical to ensure that Americans understand how to recognize travel scams and their recourse options,” they wrote.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

With the travel industry poised to boom thanks to rising coronavirus vaccination rates, scammers could very well target would-be travelers in the coming months, spoiling many long-awaited vacations.

Two senators are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to do more to protect tourists from scammers, as travel is slated to spike along with coronavirus vaccination rates. United States Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Steve Daines of Montana sent a letter to the FTC on Thursday asking the commission to bolster protections for travelers and expressing “concern” over reports detailing a proliferation of travel scams.

“While the FTC posts advisories pertaining to travel scams, we believe that more must be done to protect consumers,” the senators wrote. “Travel reservations made on fraudulent websites can be costly and stressful for travelers, and it is critical to ensure that Americans understand how to recognize travel scams and their recourse options should they fall victim to these scams.”

Payments company Flywire found that 7 out of 10 frequent travelers say they’ll likely spend more on travel in 2022. But more tourists also means more scammers looking to prey on travelers. Travel scams could take the form of fraudsters disguised as booking agents or counterfeit tickets being sold online. The FTC’s website warns consumers of rental-listing rip-offs, timeshare tricks, and sweepstakes swindles.

In their letter, the senators also included four specific questions addressed to acting FTC chief Rebecca Kelly Slaughter about the commission’s coordination with the Department of Justice, any additional measures needed to “better protect consumers,” data around travel scams, and “additional resources” that the organization may need to better address travel scams.

The FTC did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for further comment.

This isn’t the first time that Klobuchar has crossed party lines on the issue of tourism. She introduced the Protecting Tourism in the United States Act in February, along with Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri.

Read the entire letter from Klobuchar and Daines here:

Read the original article on Business Insider

A fraud tracker says verified Twitter accounts were taken over to send bitcoin spam to Elon Musk’s followers, ahead of his ‘SNL’ appearance

Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk

  • Verified Twitter accounts changed their profiles to “SNL” and posted a bitcoin giveaway website.
  • The spam targeted followers of Tesla CEO Elon Musk ahead of his hosting gig tonight.
  • The accounts included Jorge Taiana, an Argentine senator with about 114,000 followers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A series of verified Twitter accounts posted bitcoin spam targeting followers of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, according to a fraud tracker.

It comes ahead of his much-discussed hosting stint on “Saturday Night Live.”

In a series of Saturday morning tweets, the users behind the account @MalwareHunterTeam posted screenshots of verified accounts that seemed to have been taken over.

“Another verified account is being used to spread SNL / Musk themed scam,” the @MalwareHunterTeam wrote each time.

In each instance, the verified accounts changed their profile image to match that of the official “Saturday Night Live” account. Their account names were also changed to “SNL,” though their Twitter handles and bios appeared unaltered.

The altered accounts replied to tweets from Musk’s account. They instructed users to “join” a website that would distribute 5,000 bitcoin, worth about $295 million at Saturday morning’s bitcoin price.

An Elon Musk bitcoin website screenshot
The Medium post linked from the verified Twitter accounts.

The website, hosted on Medium, included a picture of Musk in a tuxedo. It linked out to a “competition” website that included a Tesla logo. It asked users to send “from 0.02 to 5 BTC to the address below and get from .20 to 50 BTC back!”

The altered accounts included the verified account of Jorge Taiana, a senator in Argentina, with about 114,000 followers.

Senador Nacional Jorge Taiana SNL Spam Takeover Twitter Account
Argentina Senador Nacional Jorge Taiana’s account during the “Saturday Night Live” takeover.

Insider has reached out to Twitter, Taiana, and MalwareHunterTeam for comment.

At least one post by an altered account included a claim that 100 million Dogecoin would be distributed to users who clicked through to the bitcoin website.

“We are ready to present the event we announced on our show today,” the message read, purporting to come from the official “SNL” account. “We want to thank our supporters and also help crypto adoption. 100 000 000 DOGE will be distributed among everyone who takes part in this event.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

A federal court has ordered a man to pay more than $571 million in fines for operating a ‘fraudulent bitcoin trading scheme’


  • A judge ordered a UK man to pay $571 million in fines for an allegedly fraudulent bitcoin scheme.
  • Benjamin Reynolds allegedly took about 22,000 bitcoin from customers, now worth about $1.2 billion.
  • Reynolds didn’t appear in court in New York, and is “purportedly” in Manchester, US regulators said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A court has ordered a man to pay penalties totalling about $571 million, after finding that he acquired more than 22,000 bitcoin through a fraudulent online scheme.

The fine was announced by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulator on Friday.

The bitcoin handed over by more than 1,000 customers in 2017 as part of the alleged scheme was valued at about $143 million at the time, but would now be worth about $1.22 billion.

The CFTC named Benjamin Reynolds, a British national, as the person behind the alleged scheme. But the CFTC didn’t seem to know exactly where Reynolds was, saying in a press statement that he was “purportedly” living in Manchester, England.

Reynolds was ordered on March 2 to pay about $143 million in restitution and $429 million in a civil monetary penalty, according to the CFTC statement.

The judgement was issued by Mary Kay Vyskocil, a judge in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Vyskocil wrote that Reynolds had “failed to appear or answer the Complaint.”

The CFTC alleged that Reynolds in 2017 used a website, social networks, and email to solicit about 22,190.542 bitcoin from people around the world.

Conducting business under the name Control-Finance Limited, Reynolds collected bitcoin from more than 1,000 people, including about 169 people living in the US, the CFTC said.

Control-Finance Limited was registered in England in September 2016, with its official address listed in a nondescript office building in the center of Manchester, according to UK government records. Reynolds, who was born in 1983, was listed as the company’s sole director.

Under Reynolds, Control-Finance solicited bitcoin from customers who thought they were investing the cryptocurrency, according to the CFTC complaint.

“Among other things, Reynolds falsely represented to customers that Control-Finance traded their bitcoin deposits in virtual currency markets and employed specialized virtual currency traders who generated guaranteed trading profits for all customers,” the CFTC said.

Reynolds also allegedly created an “elaborate” affiliate marketing network that promised to pay “outsized referral profits” and other rewards for bringing new bitcoin customers to Control-Finance.

The CFTC said: “In fact, Reynolds made no trades on customers’ behalf, earned no trading profits for them, and paid them no referral rewards or bonuses.”

The regulator said Reynolds said he would return all the deposited bitcoin to customers of Control-Finance by October 2017. He “instead retained the deposits for his own personal use,” it said.

UK government records listed Control-Finance Limited as dissolved as of February 2018.

Vyskocil’s judgement against Reynolds said the penalties would accrue interest if not paid immediately.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Rewards Buck Review: What Happened To RewardBucks?

Last Updated on March 22, 2021 by Justin Su

If you are making money online for the last few years then you might hear about Rewards Buck. But if you are a newbie then you might now aware of them.

There are many GPT websites that you can find on the internet and Rewards Buck is one of them, I published an article where you can find more than 20 trusted GPT websites.

GPT websites are also known as Get Paid To websites.

Let’s start our Rewards Buck review.

What Is Rewards Buck?

Rewards Buck is the GPT website where you can earn money for completing different tasks. It was founded in the year 2016-2017. It becomes very popular in the online earning world.

You can use them on any device like mobile and computer.

Anyone can join their platform and can earn money by completing different tasks like downloading the app, playing games, completing surveys, visiting websites, and many more. Like money earning app offers.

How To Earn On Rewards Buck?

There are various methods to earn money online through Rewards Buck. Let’s check out those methods.

APP:- The simplest method is downloading the app. You can earn money by just downloading different apps. Payout rates will be different for each app.

Paid Surveys:- High-paying survey through which you can increase your earning. Surveys are from a third party hence reward will take time to get credited. You can easily make $0.2 to $5.00 per survey you will complete.

There are some other ways to make money like offers.

Download The APP

No, there are apps that are not available now. They were removed from Play Store but you can download APK from the APKPure website, in case you want.

Website Links

If you do google then you will not find their website at first and I will tell you why just keep reading.

Their official website link is “” which is currently not accessible at all.

But their shop page is accessible here you can visit their shopping page but I suggest not to use their shopping page to purchase any product.

Is Rewards Buck Legit Or Scam?

RewardsBuck is a 100% scam. They went without any notice. Also, they didn’t pay their users. If you are thinking that you can earn from them then believe me and do not try. You will not get anything.

The post Rewards Buck Review: What Happened To RewardBucks? appeared first on MoneyForWallet.

Extreme Rebates Review: Is This Legit Or Scam Platform?

Last Updated on March 21, 2021 by Justin Su

This is going to be a short review of Extreme Rebates, this is short because there is not much to tell.

If you want to make money online then you should think about saving money. Here are the method and site of it.

If you are one of those people who regularly do purchase the product online from e-commerce shops like Amazon. Actually, they do support Amazon only.

So let’s start our ExtremeRebates review now.

What Are Extreme Rebates?

Extreme Rebates is the platform where you can get coupon codes that you can use on Amazon to purchase the product online. In exchange for that, you have to leave a review on the product on Amazon.

If you do purchase products online on Amazon then you can use them to save some amount of money. It was founded in the year 2015 and it has offices in the USA.

How To Use Extreme Rebates?

It is very easy and simple to useExtremeRebates. You can get up to 100% cashback on each product.

First, you need to register on their website, here is their website link

After registration, you have to verify your email.

You have to login again and choose the product online. Below are the categories you can choose the product from.
Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry, Home & Kitchen, Cell Phones & Accessories, Sports & Outdoors Electronics, Baby Products Tools & Home Improvement, and many more.

You have to request the coupon code to use it. Once the seller accepts your offer then you have to visit Amazon and purchase the product.

After completing the order you have to submit your Amazon order ID to the ExtremeRebates website. Then the team will check your order and if they approve it you will get your cashback credited to your account easily.

You can also post the review for the seller and product respectively.

It Is a Legit Or Scam?

So is extreme rebate legit or it is a scam like others? In the previous article, you got to know that AppDown got closed and in the same way Extreme Rebates also got closed.

Calling them a scam will not affect their situation because they are closed now.

Currently, their website is live but not active. And no activity on their Twitter page since 2017. Click here to visit their website.

The post Extreme Rebates Review: Is This Legit Or Scam Platform? appeared first on MoneyForWallet.

AppDown Review: What Happened To AppDown App?

Last Updated on March 21, 2021 by Justin Su

In our previous article, I published a PlayTestCloud review, where you can earn money for playing games online. Actually for testing game apps.

There are various methods to make money online. Making money by playing games is one of them.

In this post, I am going to review AppDown.

What Is AppDown?

AppDown is a mobile device app which allows its users to play new games and earn money. By using this app you will get interact with brand new apps that are not launched yet in the market.

It was founded in the year 2013 and unfortunately not active since 2018.

The app was made and developed by gamers for app developers. The AppDown is known for simpleness. Because you can earn money with just a few simple steps.

How To Earn With AppDown?

The main method to make money with AppDown is downloading the different proposed app and using them for the given time. After playing the game you have to submit your report to the developer.

Another method is the paid surveys, here you can earn more money from this app is by completing online surveys. These surveys are from a third party and it may take some time to get credited to your wallet.

You can also make some sorts of money by playing free spin, you get a chance to roll the spin and earn money. Rewards can be any amount and can be redeemed instantly.

Watching videos and making money is also possible with Appdown. You can watch any type of videos that are listed on the app. You must watch the complete video in order to get the reward.

If you are a daily user then you can get rewarded for daily login.

Payment Method

The minimum withdrawal is only $5 which you can withdraw anytime. All the rewards are earned in points.

6000 points are equals $2.

They support the following payment methods. Gift cards from G2A, Zynga, oBucks, Facebook credit, Skype credit, you can also withdraw cash using Paypal and Go cash. You mostly can get the payment within 24 hours.

What Happened To AppDown?

So Appdown is legit or a scam? nor it is a scam or legit. Because currently, it doesn’t exist. But it vanished suddenly in the year 2018 hence we can call it a scam for sure.

Their last tweet on Twitter was in Nov 2017.

The post AppDown Review: What Happened To AppDown App? appeared first on MoneyForWallet.

Scammers are targeting Texans as winter storm leaves many without power, feds warn

winter storm texas snow
Ice and snow blanketing roads in Odessa, Texas, on February 15, 2021.

  • Federal authorities are warning Texans of increased scam efforts after a devastating winter storm. 
  • Some scammers are already posing as representatives from electricity companies. 
  • Many residents lost power and others have suffered property damage from the storm. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas warned residents to be on the lookout for scams as the state deals with an unprecedented winter storm that has left many with property damage and no electricity. 

“Fraudsters often appear from nowhere to take advantage of natural disasters, which is what occurred in the early days of the pandemic. Now, we are concerned that weary homeowners will fall prey to unsolicited calls regarding insurance claims, home warranties, or bogus government grants” acting US Attorney Nicholas Ganjei said.  “If you did not solicit the call, hang up.” 

On Wednesday, The Electric Reliability Council of Texas warned residents about a scam circulating on social media that asked customers to text their private account numbers.

“Don’t do it!  We don’t need any of your info to get your power back on – we are working as fast as we possibly can,” ERCOT said in a tweet

Local outlet WFAA reported that there have been several scam calls of people posing as representatives of electricity companies to get personal information.

Anthea Stroman of Arlington, Texas told the outlet that she got a call from someone claiming to be from TXU Energy who said her power would be shut off in half an hour because of an unpaid bill. Stroman said she was told to call a number to make a payment, but the person on the other end of that line would not tell her what company he worked for. 

“He was being very snarky,” Stroman said. “It was as if he was reprimanding me. He said, ‘You know who you are calling. You know what you need to do.’ I used a few choice words at that moment before I hung up.”

The Federal Trade Commission reported that in 2020 they received 500,000 reports of impostor scams. These types of scams happen when a fraudster pretends to be someone else or to be affiliated with a business or government agency. It’s one of the most common types of fraud.

Imposter scams resulted in almost $1.2 billion of losses last year. 

Insider previously reported on the winter storms that have pummeled the Texas energy grid and forced shutoffs to heat and power. As of Friday morning, about 193,000 customers were still without power, but power has been restored to the majority of the over 3 million Texas residents whose power went out earlier in the week. 

AccuWeather reported that damages from the storm in and around Texas could be close to $50 billion. The estimate encompasses lost wages, damages to businesses and homes, and cleanup costs across the region. 

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at

Read the original article on Business Insider

What Is PayTM Doubling: Paytm Doubling Panel Are Legit or Scam?

Last Updated on January 25, 2021 by Justin Su

Did anyone tell you that he can help you to double your PayTM money using the PayTM Doubling panel? If they are then you should know about them before giving your money to them.

Related: 20 Best Money Making APP

Related: Get Free Instagram Followers 

What Is Paytm Doubling?

Paytm doubling is the method that can double your Paytm money. It was first heard in the year 2016 through many facebook trick and tips sharing groups.

They used to sell this service but in the end, they do not have anything. They used to sell Paytm doubling trick and Paytm doubling server.

What Is Paytm Double Server Panel?

Either you are searching for a PayTM double server or a Paytm double money server. Some site claims that their servers are very free and best to double your money.

PayTM Doubling Is Legit or Scam?

PayTM doubling is a 100% scam method. There are many scammers and hackers who use this method to scam newbies. If anyone says that this website is legit to get your money double then stay away from them.

There are many Paytm doubling SMM panels also but they are scams too.

I suggested staying away from such websites, apps, pages, groups, and anything that promotes such tips, tricks, carding, and tutorials. They are 100% scams.

There are any SMM Panel for Paytm Doubling? Currently, there are no such things.

There are many Paytm doubling scripts? No, currently there is no doubling script.

Paytm Carding is possible? I do not suggest doing carding. They are illegal. And you should stay away from them. You can either lose your money or time.

Telegram Group Doubler Scammer

Also, there are many telegram groups that promote this service. They first publish good and attractive tricks to attract new members but later they do the same trick and ask you to send money and after you send them money they will block you and not respond to you.

Do not believe them even if they share any type of proof. Because there is no such thing made.

Conclusion: There are many doubling tricks used by scammers to scam newbies. If you really want to earn money online then I suggest reading our other articles on making money online. It will guide you to earn a good amount of money online.

If you have money then you can start your own PTC, GPT, and SMM Panel website.

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