Can You Get Scammed with a QR Code?

Quick Response (QR) codes are among the most-used methods of making transactions and redirecting people to online pages. However, while QR codes have helped simplify these processes, there can be risk accompanying their usage.

Here is more information about QR codes and how you can get scammed.

What Are QR Codes?

QR codes are images that can be easily scanned using a smartphone. These images translate into something more meaningful and often contain website links, web address information, images and videos, among other things.

To put it simply, QR codes are encoded pieces of data that reveal information a person can understand once the codes have been scanned. As a result, QR codes are often found on posters, business cards, flyers, leaflets, and other payment and marketing equipment.

While they can be convenient and efficient, QR codes can also be troublesome. Scammers can use them to try to steal personal information from people who scan the codes.

How Do Scammers Use QR Codes?

QR code scams work similarly manner to phishing attacks. Scammers can create QR codes that lead to legitimate websites and then redirect you to the malicious webpage planted by the scammer. In other cases, the QR code may directly lead you to the harmful website made by the scammer.

Some of these sites are designed to trick you into giving away personal information. Other sites end up infecting your device with malware.

Some QR codes also give scammers access to your device. They can exploit your device by adding or deleting contacts, making phone calls, writing texts and even using the payment apps on your phone.

How To Stay Away from QR Code Scams

It is hard to prevent QR code scams because there is no way to determine what a QR code contains before scanning it. By then, you are already on the malicious website or have unknowingly provided scammers with access to your phone and its content.

However, you can help prevent yourself from being a victim of QR code scams by keeping the following things in mind:

  • If you encounter a QR code in a shady location (like a bus stop), it is better to avoid scanning it.
  • You should never scan suspicious-looking QR codes, such as ones sent by strangers.
  • Do not scan QR codes sent by your friends if your friend’s account has been hacked.
  • Avoid using QR codes to pay bills.
  • Install applications or software that provide extra protection to your device by detecting any malicious or inappropriate content.

Where To Report QR Code Scams?

If you, or someone you know, have been a victim of a QR code scam, you can take the following steps:

  • If you have any information on your scammer, consider informing your local police of the scam.
  • If you feel like your finances are at risk for fraud, immediately contact your financial institution, freeze accounts and consider signing up for identity theft protection plan to help monitor your personal information and credit.
  • If the scam took place on a website, application or online marketplace, you could report the scam account to the platform.

Unfortunately, QR codes scams are very common. While it is difficult to avoid them, it is not impossible. Taking a few precautionary steps should keep you safe. However, if you encounter such a scam, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself.

The post Can You Get Scammed with a QR Code? appeared first on IdentityIQ written by Nicole Bitting