Google offers those scammed by Virus Shield a refund, $5 Google Play Store credit

At the beginning of the month, it was reported that the number one paid app in the Google Play Store was a complete scam. Virus Shield, a one-click protection software, racked up over 10,000 purchases from unsuspecting buyers by claiming to provide protection against harmful apps. Virus Shield also claimed to provide scans in real-time and protection of personal information. In reality, the application simply changed a red “x” graphic into a red check mark graphic; This graphical change symbolized that the user was protected.

According to Android Police, Google is now refunding those that purchased the application earlier this month. Google is sending emails to those that purchased the protection software, informing them that the application was a scam, and that they will be receiving a refund within the next 14 days.

Additionally, for the inconvenience, Google is offering a five-dollar promotional Google Play Store credit. This credit can be used to purchase apps, games, music, books and other content from the Play Store. While there have been discussions in the past in regards to applications submitted to the Google Play Store for approval, this recent event brings to light that even non-malicious applications can still cause issues if not screened properly.

Source: Android Police

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41 Comments

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I hope i can use the google store credit to re-purchase the app.

I wont feel safe until the red "X" has turned into a green checkmark.

I dont get whats so bad about this...
People failed to read the reviews or do any research before installing software. same as on a computer. do a quick google of it and see what pops up for issues.

Google made good on it by refunding AND giving them $5 gift cards.
The thing that is good about the playstore is that its open. you get new devs making free and fun apps that you cant get on a ios market.
The downfall is things like this will occasionally occur.

Two different markets for different audiences.

Good on Google, but it doesn't cost them anything really. $50,000 is not even a drop in the ocean to them. Especially, with the goodwill and the good PR it generates.

Meanwhile, 10,000 people are getting rewarded for being dumb. Oh well. At least they would have learnt their lesson by now. One can only hope LOL!

_Alexander said,
They can re-release it for Windows. Windows store has no quality checking as far as I can tell.

Yup and they can boast that their App number are going up but not many will be paying for the app because not many people on windows really visit that crap store. I just checked kind of apps on windows store and what you see are majority of poorly rendering junk Chinese apps.

In terms of sheer numbers there's far more junk in the Play Store anyway compared to the Windows Store, and the latter's in a far better state compared to the former at the same age after launch.

A full refund would be better.

Not sure if this is the case but Google play used to make people pay with either gift card or credit card in full no partial payments with either

anothercookie said,
A full refund would be better.

A full refund is what they are getting, according the article, plus $5 in store credit.

ichi said,

A full refund is what they are getting, according the article, plus $5 in store credit.

Ah, an additonal 5 huh. I read the OP wrong then. Even better.

What the hell happened??? People buy $5 for virus shield? its only can happen in Google Play! People are so insecure in Android !!!

Tanzim31 said,
What the hell happened??? People buy $5 for virus shield? its only can happen in Google Play! People are so insecure in Android !!!

Yes, lets not forget the fake Google apps that appeared, and were paid apps, in the WP Store.

Google has some serious problem ... Microsoft try to play nice with Google ... Google is a serious bad ass.. Microsoft created YouTube app without ad ..then Google block it.. They do it again and again .. Well WP users are negated to Google and microsoft is desperate to increase the number of Apps (Microsoft has some bad stuff too) ..so some company took their chance.. it will get over soon..

Tanzim31 said,
What the hell happened??? People buy $5 for virus shield? its only can happen in Google Play! People are so insecure in Android !!!

What's it insecure about? It's weight?

techbeck said,
Yes, lets not forget the fake Google apps that appeared, and were paid apps, in the WP Store.
I think it was on Reddit or somewhere else that a guy who bought one of the apps said they did work, because they were pretty much website wrappers. If so that's an important distinction. At least they weren't complete rip-offs like this one. :D

Better an app that works than one that doesn't, any day. At the end of the day if the dev had chosen a different name rather than trying to pass them off as official apps, no-one would have had cause to complain. Not the case here. MS does check for functionality as far as I know, but double-checking trademarks is not their job. That's why all those fake VLC apps exist as long as Videolan doesn't complain.

From the original article:

Note: the developer of Virus Shield has claimed that the app is legitimate, and that a version without the virus protection included was uploaded to the Play Store by mistake.

How do you manage to comment out the entire raison-d'etre of your app? Pretty laughable excuse.

Denis W. said,
From the original article:


How do you manage to comment out the entire raison-d'etre of your app? Pretty laughable excuse.

Lol I know. What a guy. He'll probably get away with it.

He lost his dev account. Also he claims he didn't get a dime out of it because he got caught before the monthly day Google issues out checks to developers. He was over on /r/Android the other day begging people to believe him that it was a mistake and he didn't mean to scam anybody.

It pays to be stupid... !
Google will pay you for your lack of brilliance!
now excuse me while I go find other Play store apps to complain about I'm gonna get paid son!

Deadeye550 said,
So those of us not dumb enough to download said application do not get anything. Scam or not.

You get point & laugh rights. That's gotta count for something . . .

How is it nice? It pretty much shows they have no checks in place as to what applications actually do or if they do what they are reported to do.

Well it was pretty shabby it got in there to begin with, but it's good form on Google for ponying up refunds to everybody who bought it versus "Sorry about your luck, read the reviews next time."

Of course I did, they are only admitting responsibility for not checking the purpose or content of an app, it's hardly something to be commended on, if they had performed the correct checks in the first place the customer would not have been put in this position.

If the top selling app on their market was this much of a rip-off then what else have they not noticed?!

PsYcHoKiLLa said,
Of course I did, they are only admitting responsibility for not checking the purpose or content of an app, it's hardly something to be commended on, if they had performed the correct checks in the first place the customer would not have been put in this position.

This isnt about Google's approval process. This is about them doing the right thing and refunding the money. And fake apps get thru on all app stores. No approval process is prefect.

Max Norris said,
Well it was pretty shabby it got in there to begin with, but it's good form on Google for ponying up refunds to everybody who bought it versus "Sorry about your luck, read the reviews next time."
Except the reviews were all great. It even has a 4.8 star rating in the play store.