QR Codes Are Being Used to Scam People, FTC Warns

A recent alert published by the FTC revealed that malicious actors are using old and inconspicuous QR codes to scam people with all things having been considered and taken into account. The way this works is that you might receive a message containing a QR code, or you might try to scan one that you find on a particular page, and this will immediately transfer money to the people behind the scam.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that around 60,000 such attacks occurred in 2023 alone according to Trellix, a company specializing in cybersecurity solutions. Many of these scams involved people impersonating HR officials and payroll staff, and in instance, QR codes had been placed on parking meters which took victims to a fraudulent payment site.

In order to prevent yourself from falling prey to these scams, it is essential to ignore any emails or text messages you receive that talk about an urgent payment of some sort. Before making a payment, users need to check the URL of the site because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up revealing whether or not it is legitimate.

Another useful strategy that wary consumers can deploy is to avoid downloading QR code scanners, since most phones have these scanners built into the camera software. Many apps in this category are directly involved in a wide range of fraudulent activity themselves, which makes it necessary to eschew them in favor of built in QR code readers.
Finally, it would be best to be hesitant about scanning any QR codes if you aren’t entirely sure of their origins. Standard best practices pertaining to cybersecurity such as creating passwords with unique character combinations and setting up MFA can also come in handy, since they can make cyberattacks harder to conduct than might have been the case otherwise.

It’s not just money at stake here, since malicious actors are also using QR codes to obtain various kinds of sensitive data. As a result, using common sense approaches to protecting yourself online is critical, especially with these attacks increasing so drastically in number this past year, and QR codes bcoming more commonplace in day to day life.

Image: DIW-AIgen

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