Google refunds buyers of fake anti-virus app
Users to be reimbursed for non-functional Virus Shield
Google is refunding users who unsuspectingly bought a fake anti-virus app from Google Play, the BBC has reported.
The Virus Shield app had reached the number one ranking in the Play store with over 10,000 downloads before it was removed.
The app, which claimed to "prevent harmful apps from being installed on your device" was discovered by news site, Android Police who said on its website: "After digging into the app's code, Artem Russakovskii and various Android Police readers found that it was nothing more than a few images and a toggle. Virus Shield racked up more than 10,000 downloads at $3.99 a pop, and the app was removed from the Play Store hours after our story was published."
Google emailed users who had purchased the app, to offer a full refund and credit to spend in the Play Store.
"We're reaching out to you because you recently purchased the 'Virus Shield' app on Google Play," the email said.
"This app made the false claim that it provided one-click virus protection; in reality, it did not.
"Google Play's policies strictly prohibit false claims like these, and in light of this, we're refunding you for your 'Virus Shield' purchase. You should see funds returned to your account within the next 14 days.
"Additionally we'd like to offer you $5 promotional credit, which can be used to purchase digital content on Google Play."
According to the BBC, the developer of the app spoke to the Guardian after the app was removed from the Play Store and said that it had been a "foolish mistake" and that this version of the app had not been intended for release.
"The app version that was decompiled by Android Police was not intended to be released. It was an early placeholder that our user-interface designer created. There was a mix-up between the version that contained the anti-virus code for our app."