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Google refunding customers duped by fake anti-virus app

Google has begun to refund users who purchased the fake anti-virus app "Virus Shield" from its Play Store.

The app reached the number one rank in the Play Store, racking up over 10,000 downloads before eventually being removed. Following investigation of the code it used, news site Android Police discovered that it did nothing whatsoever.

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Users who paid for and downloaded the app are getting a full refund as well as credit to spend in the Play Store.

Virus Shield claimed to "prevent harmful apps from being installed on your device" but was discovered to simply just install a new icon on the phone.

Following the news that the app was fraudulent, Google pulled it form the Play Store after 9 days in the charts.

"We're reaching out to you because you recently purchased the 'Virus Shield' app on Google Play," emails sent to users said, according to the BBC.

"Google Play's policies strictly prohibit false claims like these, and in light of this, we're refunding you for your 'Virus Shield' purchase. You should see funds returned to your account within the next 14 days."

See more: Don't fall prey to scareware

The app's developer told the Guardian that their decision to release it had been a "foolish mistake" and that the version that hit the Store was not intended for release.

"The app version that was decompiled by Android Police was not intended to be released. It was an early placeholder that our user-interface designer created. There was a mix-up between the version that contained the anti-virus code for our app," said Jesse Carter