Fraud is part of life. Individuals, syndicates, companies … everyone tries to defraud you.
Nigerian princes and deceptive insurance schemes are one thing. You pay in a sum for the promise of earning more.
Such schemes are obvious and whoever falls for them … well. But there is a more innocuous type of fraud out there and the leading perpetrator are Taiwanese companies. These are mini games available as apps in the Google Play and Apple App Store.
They are ostensibly honest. You get to play a game and watch some ads. The company makes money from displaying the ads and offers you a small sum in return. Looks like a fair deal.
Except you never get the money. All these apps do is make ad money for themselves and collect your email address which they sell in databases.
The games fall into one of three groups. Those that let you win easily, but never pay; those with decreasing returns as you near payout limits; those that add other conditions as you approach payout limits.
Here is the surprising fact: 90% of these fraudulent apps are made by a handful of Taiwanese companies. They can be identified by ads displayed (for Taipei apartments for example) and actors used in ads (speaking Taiwanese accents). Apple has recently removed fraudulent Chinese apps but left the thousands of Taiwanese rip-offs available. This tarnished the image of Taiwan worldwide.
It is a shame not only that Google and Apple allow these apps but that after scam after scam by criminal gangs these “game developers” tarnish the global image of an otherwise promising Asian democracy.