Antivirus app Virus Shield taken off Play Store for allegedly scamming users

8 Apr 2014

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Virus Shield, a paid-for app which claimed to provide antivirus protection for Android devices, has been taken off the Google Play Store after it was found to allegedly do nothing of the sort.

In fact, according to Android Police, the app was completely fraudulent as it did nothing but change its image once the antivirus button was pressed.

Costing €2.89 in the Play Store, the app topped the paid-for app chart with more than 10,000 installations, remained in the top 5, and receiving regular four and five-star reviews from users who thought the incredibly simplistic nature of the interface made their phone secure with little to no effort.

Since Android Police’s discovery, Google was quick to act and have now taken down the app from the Play Store. However, consumers who downloaded the app are unlikely to see a refund anytime soon.

Need for vigilance

The obvious question remains, who developed the app and why was it allowed on the Play Store? The Android Police team were unable to find any clear method of contacting a developer with a dead email address, Jesse_Carter@live.com, that has been associated with other Android scams.

Speaking about the incident prior to the app’s removal, Michael Crider of Android Police said consumers need to be more vigilant with new apps in future and if it appears too good to be true, it usually is.

“We usually just post fake apps to the Android Police social accounts and our readers helpfully flag them, but this is such a brazen and expensive fake that we felt the need to give it some special attention," Crider said.

“It's somewhat disheartening that an app so obviously fake could rise to the top, especially considering that it's paid, and possibly hundreds or thousands of people have been defrauded already.”

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Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com