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What exactly is a QR code?

Quick Response (QR) codes are complex combinations of black and white squares. These codes are frequently used to connect to data and information available on the internet. The codes can only be read by machines, which are typically smartphones equipped with a QR code reader. They were intended to be quickly deciphered and read.

Due to their convenience, QR codes can be found almost anywhere these days, from advertising leaflets and magazines to restaurant menus and business cards. It’s the simplest way to direct people to the online page you want them to visit.

What are the various types of QR scams?

The primary goal of QR codes is to direct you to a page where cybercriminals can steal your data, money, or both.

Scams Using QR Codes

A cybercriminal will pose as someone you know or trust in a phishing attack in order to obtain your data. Phishing attacks can take place through emails, phone calls, or social media.

Criminals may send you an email, a flyer, a letter, or a social media message containing a QR code. Scanning it will take you to a page where you must enter your personal information or login credentials. The requested data may contain sensitive information, such as your online banking information. Phishing QR codes frequently lead to fake websites that appear to be affiliated with large and trustworthy organizations.

Face-to-face QR scams

Criminals may approach victims and ask for assistance in paying for a parking space. They claim that the victim can transfer money to their bank account by scanning a code. The criminals usually promise to return the money in cash. However, criminals now have access to their online banking information as a result of this.

QR code viruses

Cybercriminals can easily embed links to virus and malware-infected web pages into QR codes. As a result, your sensitive data may be compromised. This is entirely possible because some websites initiate drive-by downloads of malicious software as soon as you visit them. The last thing you want is for a website that you visit via QR code to install a keylogger on your device. This type of malware records everything you type.

The famous ‘QR payment fraud’

QR code fraud entails tampering with QR codes or placing fraudulent codes in places where many online payments are made, such as gas stations that accept payment via QR code. Criminals may even cover legitimate QR codes in order to trick more victims into using their codes instead.

Crypto QR scams

A QR code is used to transfer money in many cryptocurrency transactions. It can cost you a lot of money if the QR code you scan has been tampered with.

How can we protect ourselves?

The only thing we can say is that you should never scan a QR code that you don’t know.

  1. If you receive a suspicious message with a QR code from a large institution, such as a bank, always contact the company or institution directly to determine where the message originated.
  2. Don’t be afraid to decline requests to scan a QR code from strangers in need.
  3. You should try to avoid using QR codes to transfer Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

What should we do if we fall victim to a QR Code scam?

  1. Contact your bank and request that your account be temporarily blocked.
  2. Always run a virus scan to ensure that the malicious URL embedded in the QR code is free of malware.

3.If you were approached by a scammer through a website, online marketplace, or app, report their username on that platform.

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