If you or your kids have been trying to cheat your way through Minecraft (hey, we’ve all done it), your phone and wallet might be in for some trouble.
It turns out many of the Minecraft cheat add-on apps (pictured below) — that claim to give you a leg up in the game — are, in fact, scams that hijack your phone.
Earlier this week, IT security company ESET reported that over 30 of these malicious apps were downloaded by Android users in between 600,000 to 2 million times from the Google Play store. (Yes, iPhone lovers are safe.) The numbers aren’t all that surprising considering Minecraft, the world’s most popular video game, has over 20 million users.
Instead of, you know, offering you Minecraft cheats once installed, ESET says the scam apps just take over your phone and display banners on your screen that say your phone is infected with a “dangerous virus.” FYI, your phone is totally not infected, but those who are convinced by the scare tactics are told that they can get rid of it by installing a phone antivirus service via text. Once again, the antivirus service offered doesn’t really exist and users are actually signing up to pay for a premium-rate texting service that costs them $6.49 a week. Oy!
The good news is, Google has since removed all of these apps from its site and is keeping an eye out for future scams. The deletion of these apps, however, doesn’t stop them from charging you $6.49 a week — if you unwittingly signed up for this scam.