There is a time and season for everything, even fraudulent apps it seems, as Symantec published figures revealing the number of such apps published on Google Play Store. Based on the figures from January to August this year, it seems that last month was peek season for scammers developing Japanese one-click fraud apps.
The number of such apps have risen to 2,500 this year, 1,000 of which were published in August alone. Based on Google Play's own statistics, these apps have been downloaded on that month at least 8,500 times, but Symantec believes that the actually number probably goes beyond 10,000. The apps seem to be published every afternoon, probably after a busy day at work for the scammers who make the apps.
Various methods and styles have been or are still being used in order to prolong the life of the fraud apps before being taken down by Google's security system. The most common method involves the use of multiple links to various online adult sites. Mixed among these links are one or two that lead to pages that deceive people into paying fees that could amount to up to $1,000. Hiding the malicious links among valid links is able to delay security checks from detecting the scam. The links also lead to a redirector URL that scammers can temporarily switch to valid sites in case of an investigation.
Fortunately, majority of these apps are short-lived, some not lasting more than a day, although there have been cases where apps remained over the weekend or for several days. Unfortunately, it seems that a single day, placed in the hands of a persistent and patient scammer, is all that it takes to con people into dispensing with their hard-earned cash.