Although QR codes have been in the market since 1994, they have evolved significantly in recent years. According to ExpressVPN’s study, based on the current trends, the QR code market will probably see even bigger growth in the future.
You can probably find QR codes everywhere these days because of their easy installation and use. Everything has been introduced to QR codes, from Snapchat and Instagram to payment apps.
Even though there are easy to use, QR codes are risky because they can put users’ phones and data at risk. They redirect users to malicious websites and lure them into making purchases to steal their transactional or personal data. Due to this, users have to scan them cautiously and use QR codes only from reputable sources.
How frauds and scams are done through QR Codes?
Although QR codes’ popularity has been increasing, the number of scams connected with them has also increased. A lot of scammers have been using dangerous techniques that could become problematic. From infecting devices with malware to phishing attacks, QR codes became a perfect tool for gathering data from unsuspecting victims.
Parking meter QR codes
This public scanning system provides an easy target for scammers. Recently, there was a surge in parking meter scams where fraudsters replace the legitimate QR code with a fake one. When you scan that fake code, the code will lead to a website similar to the official page. If you enter all the information about your credit card and other information, you can quickly become a fraud by transferring your data on the dark web.
Email phishing code
If you ever receive a QR code in your email, you must stay alert because it can direct you to malicious sites or links that scammers could use for malicious emails. The email can look like you had a receipt for your recent purchases or anything similar to this. Therefore, never scan QR codes that you find in emails. If you have any problem with the transaction, go directly to the company website instead.
Tampering with the QR code
When you decide to visit a public place like a restaurant, you may find QR code menus or information pamphlets. As soon as you scan them, they will direct you to a website, and you should always ask the staff member to confirm if the website is legitimate.
How to prevent QR code scams?
In a world where QR code scams have become frequent, we must stay alert to protect ourselves from QR code scams. Here are some tips that can help you stay safe and protected from QR code fraud.
- You should only use QR codes from trusted sources and avoid random stickers and advertisements.
- Keep your apps updated. It makes your device less vulnerable to cyber threats.
- If the QR code is asking for personal information, be careful what you share.
- Download QR code scanners only from trusted sources.
- Never scan unknown or suspicious QR codes, especially if they’ve been sent by an unknown person or institution.
Whenever you scan a QR code, be aware of malicious or suspicious activity and stay away from QR codes that look fishy.