These days, QR codes are widely available. Posters, flyers, and menus from restaurants all feature them. They have online and offline applications. QR codes are user-friendly and convenient. Simply use the camera on your smartphone to scan them. After that, a link, a discount code, a video, or other internet content is displayed to you.
There is a regrettable dark side to QR codes’ growing popularity. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of this technology for malicious intent. False QR codes are made by scammers. They have the ability to steal your personal data. They may also deceive you into paying money or infect your device with malware.
It’s important to scan QR codes with caution. The possible risks concealed behind those supposedly innocent squares are brought to light by this recent scam.

The QR Code Resurgence

The original purpose of QR codes was to track parts in the automotive sector. Recently, there has been an increase of them. They are therefore used in marketing today.
They provide the ease of immediate information access. All you do is scan a code. They now play a crucial role in many different sectors, such as hospitality and retail.
Unfortunately, cybercriminals adapt quickly. A fresh phishing scam has surfaced, taking advantage of our confidence in QR codes.

How the Scam Works

A fake QR code is printed by the con artist. They position it over a valid one. They could, for instance, affix it to a poster promoting a movie or a product discount.
You approach and, believing it to be authentic, scan the fake QR code. You might be taken to a phishing website by the fake code. You can be asked to enter sensitive data on these websites. For example, your credit card number, login information, or other private data.
Or you might be prompted to download a malicious app after scanning the QR code, one that has malware on it that is capable of one or more of the following actions:

  • Spy on your activity 
  • Access your copy/paste history
  • Access your contacts
  • Lock your device until you pay a ransom

You might also be taken to a payment page by the code, a webpage that demands payment for something that is allegedly free.
Here are some strategies to be aware of.

Malicious Codes Concealed

Criminals manipulate authentic QR codes. They frequently cover up genuine QR code stickers with fake ones. They send users to phoney websites or embed malicious content.

Fake Promotions and Contests

By using QR codes, scammers can trick users into entering phoney competitions or promotions. Users may be taken to a fraudulent website when they scan the code. They might be asked for personal information by the website. Financial fraud or identity theft may result from this.

Malware Distribution

Malicious QR codes can initiate malware downloads onto a user’s device. Security may be compromised as a result of this. Including possible harm to the device’s functionality and illegal access to personal information.

Stay Vigilant: Tips for Safe QR Code Scanning

Verify the Source

When scanning QR codes from unidentified or suspicious sources, exercise caution. Check the code’s legitimacy and the source of it. This is particularly valid if you are prompted to input private data.

Use a QR Code Scanner App

Use a specialised QR code scanning app, if possible. Instead of using your device’s default camera app. Additional security features like code analysis and website reputation checks are offered by certain third-party apps.

Inspect the URL Before Clicking

Examine the URL before going to a website that is prompted by a QR code. Make sure it corresponds with the official website of the company it claims to represent.

Avoid Scanning Suspicious Codes

Have confidence in your intuition. Avoid scanning a QR code if it appears suspicious. People’s curiosity is a common ruse for scammers. When scanning QR codes that you come across in public areas, exercise caution. If they appear damaged, suspicious, or altered, do not scan them. Being cautious is crucial.

Update Your Device and Apps

Update the operating system and QR code scanning applications on your device. Security patches that guard against known vulnerabilities are frequently included in routine updates.

Be Wary of Websites Accessed via QR Code

On any website that you accessed by scanning a QR code, avoid entering any personal information. This contains information such as your address, credit card number, login credentials, etc.
Don’t use a QR code to make donations or payments of any kind. Use only reputable and safe payment options.

Contact Us About Phishing Resistant Security Solutions

QR codes can be fun as well as helpful. However, if you’re not cautious, they could also be hazardous. Always proceed with caution when scanning them. Defend yourself against con artists who try to profit from your interest.
Phishing is the general term for this scam. One of the biggest threats that exist today for both individuals and businesses is phishing. Tell us if you require any assistance making sure your devices are safe from phishing attempts.

Contact us today to learn more.