Google Play Store Gaming Apps Moonfrog, Octro Siphoning Money from Credit and Debit Cards?
A number of bank customers, especially credit card users are reporting fraudulent money transfer from their account without fulfilling the two-factor authentication (2FA) or without the one-time passcode (OTP) mandated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). According to technology experts, the problem seems to be emanating from apps available on Google Play Store, and are being fooled on the assumption that Google would have included the apps on the Play store only after due diligence and verification.
A deeper analysis by Hyderabad-based technology expert Srikanth (@logic) however traces the problem to specific card game app developers like Moonfrog Labs and Octro Inc, whose name are mentioned in almost every such fraudulent transfer case that is reported.
In a series of tweets, Srikanth has brought forth the fraud taking place under the name of Google..
Srikanth says, “Why should Moonfrog Labs be still on Google Pay network if there are repeated instances of fraud happening on their platform and scamsters bypass RBI mandated 2FA through Google Play games?”
Interestingly, when Srikanth raised the issue, the tweet from @cashlessconsumer was deleted while the Twitter account of one Barkha Tiwari was suspended.
When checked, we found that there are some apps on Google Play store that are paid and the user needs to purchase it by paying money. When the money is paid for an app, the account statement will mention it like 'Google*App Developer Name'. For example, for the above mentioned app developer, the bank statement will have an entry like 'Google Moonfrog Labs' or 'Google Octro Inc'.
Bengaluru-based Moonfrog Labs is the developer of Teen Patti Gold, which it calls as India's highest grossing casino game. Its other games are LudoClub, Baahubali: The Game and Alia Bhatt: Star Life.
Octro has an engineering office presence in Delhi and counts Sequoia Capital as one of its investors. The developer has games like Teen Patti, Teen Patti Live, Indian Rummy, Tambola, Carrom Live! and Poker Live!, which are available on Android, iOS and Facebook.
On Google product forum, one Bits Computer explained how money from his account was transferred fraudulently. He says, "Same amount and problem I am not purchase or not in my order history but my 11800 + 50 + 50 + 50 +50 is deducted my account. 'Thank you for using your SBI Debit Card 459XX#### for a purchase worth Rs11800.0 on POS 248742000103177 at GOOGLE *Moonfrog Labs txn# 7353#######'."
After filing a complaint, he received refund for three transactions of Rs50 each, but not for the other transaction of Rs11800 and Rs50.
Talking about unauthorised transactions taking place in the name of Octro, one Ansuman Giri says, "Many debit and credit card holders, but mostly SBI Card holders are losing money by Octro Inc. There are few other such game developers doing this also, besides 'Google Octro Inc' there are “Google Bigo” and “Google MeMe! Octro Inc, Bigo, MeMe make Online Games and hosts their games at Google Play Store. So it is not Google who is doing this. But ultimately People think it is Google!"
"Without a definite solution, people are complaining everywhere; police station, bank which issued their card, customer care numbers, and consumer complaint boards. Bank and police officers have no clues about this, and they are saying, 'you must have shared your card details and we cannot do anything and you need to complain at cybercrime police station'. But there are one or two such police stations in a state, and I doubt they know the solution. And they might take few months to resolve the issue like the Bank," Giri added.
Google says if the user has not done the transaction on its Play store, then she should check with family, especially a child or friends, if they have made this transaction. If the charge was unauthorised and accidental but not an act of fraud, then the user can request a refund on the Google Play website
If the user or anyone she knows had not carried out the transaction, then she can report the charges to Google support team within 120 days of the transaction. "To find your claim
, you need the email address you used to submit the claim, and the claim ID sent to your email. If the charge was made via mobile carrier billing, request a refund on the Google Play website,
" Google says.
Our email to Google remained unanswered till writing this story. We will update this story as and when we receive reply from Google.