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This clever scam lets advertisers make money by draining your Android phone

A new mobile ad scam is afoot, with ad networks tucking incredibly profitable video adverts hide behind normal banner ads, rinsing the battery of Android users to put a few more pennies into their own accounts.

This has been discovered by Buzzfeed. Worse still, chances are you’ll never even notice these ads are running, just that your battery is taking a solid whack.

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It’s reminiscent of the old crypto-schemes that could see webpages or apps co-opting your processor cycles to mine cryptocurrency, except here it isn’t web or app developers to blame, but some shady ad networks that people have signed up with to ensure their apps and websites make money.

The scam was rumbled after several app developers started to get complaints about the battery and data usage of their apps. Buzzfeed looked into this and they traced it back to a company called OutStream Media, who were a subsidiary of ad outfit Aniview.

It’s worth looking at Buzzfeed’s whole expose for more details, but for now it’s worth looking out for this practice yourself. It’s called “in-banner video ads” and there are supposedly tens of millions of dollars’ worth of these ads kicking about every month. Bad news if you want your phone to go the distance from breakfast till bedtime.

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There’s no guaranteed way to detect them right now, but if an app is slurping up more than its fair share of power or mobile data. Hopefully someone comes up with a better method to work out if your phone could have these bad ads tucked away in an app somewhere.

Have you been the victim of these in-banner video ads? Phone conking out by lunchtime? Let us know, we’re on Twitter at @TrustedReviews

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