QR code frauds are common. Here’s what you should know and keep an eye out for.
If you are constantly trying to keep on top of the latest scams so you don’t become a cautionary tale telling your friends about having your bank account emptied. Your identity stolen, you should start paying attention to QR code frauds.
Criminals have come up with some fairly inventive techniques to defraud the people. If they weren’t wreaking such chaos and wickedness you’d almost have to applaud their ingenuity and reward.The best and worst in frauds Con artists have progressed far beyond the days of spamming people with emails with suspicious-looking links or contacting elderly folks and claiming to be a grandchild in jail in need of bail money.
So, what exactly are QR code frauds, and how can you identify them? We’ll explain without requiring you to scan a QR code.
What exactly are QR codes?
You’ve probably seen a QR code even if you don’t know what it is. They’re those bar codes with black and white squares and lines; you scan them with your phone’s camera. And then you’ve got a webpage open on your phone, or maybe a restaurant voucher. Reputable companies and organizations often utilize QR codes and once the epidemic began many restaurants began utilizing them instead of printed menus.
What exactly are QR codes scams?
When a cybercriminal posts a QR code that appears to be from a reputable brand organization or individual. A perfectly nice person (that would be you) scans the code into their phone something bad happens, such as you’ve just installed malware on your phone.
That might mean your phone is suddenly useless or even worse: the phone seems to function normally. But a hacker has gained access to your personal information.
According to Maria-Kristina Hayden, CEO and founder of OUTFOXM, Inc. A cyber hygiene and resiliency firm located in New York City becoming a victim of a QR code fraud may be a bad scenario.
QR codes can not only operate as dangerous links, redirecting you to a malicious website or downloading malware. But they can also be configured to make phone calls and send text messages to your contacts,” Hayden explained. “One of my clients scanned a QR code, which secretly wrote and sent emails from his account to his entire contact list.” The emails featured malicious URLs designed to steal the recipients’ bank login details. Because of the well-worded masquerade, friends and relatives clicked.”
You’re making me nervous. How probable is it that I will be duped by a QR codes?
We’re not trying to scare people. We’re simply alerting you of the newest and not-so-greatest in terms of the lengths crooks will go to make someone’s life miserable.
There are no figures on how many QR code victims there are. However InsiderIntelligence.com estimates that 83.4 million Americans will scan a QR code by 2022. There are enough tales out there to make you think twice before scanning any old QR code into your phone. It’s prevalent enough that the FBI, the Michigan Attorney General’s office, the Better Business Bureau, and others have issued warnings.
For example, you might be deceived by a false QR code when you are…
You should park your automobile. Consider heading to a city or town’s parking meter or municipal parking lot and scanning a QR code. Which opens up the parking lot or meter’s website and allows you to reserve and pay for your parking.
Imagine subsequently realizing that, um, what do you know, fraudsters covered up the genuine QR code with a sticker displaying their own phony QR code.This is a significant issue.
The QR code parking fraud has affected parking meters. Lots in Myrtle Beach, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Portland, Maine, and… well. There’s no need to list every city in the US. You get the idea. As if getting a nice, inexpensive parking spot weren’t difficult enough. We now have to be concerned about getting duped by fraudulent parking QR codes.
Having a meal in a restaurant. Ani Chaudhuri, CEO of Dasera, a software security business based in Mountain View, California, recounted a tale about a crowded downtown diner with a buddy who works in cyberfraud prevention.
According to Chaudhuri, the diner downloaded a QR code “for a contactless menu.” Unfortunately, the QR code was a forgery.
Scammers put their own harmful QR code behind the official one of the eatery.”Customers that scanned.
The code unknowingly downloaded malware, effectively exposing their personal information,” Chaudhuri said.
I’m drinking tea. Yes, the con artists are coming for your tea. This belongs in our “restaurant” example, but we’re attempting to keep things simple. A woman in Singapore went to a bubble tea establishment earlier.
This year and noticed a sticker on the front door. Customers who scanned the QR code and completed an online survey would receive a free cup of milk tea, according to the sticker. Scammers broke into the woman’s bank account that night and stole $20,000.
It’s simple to understand how the consumer was fooled; a sticker on a business’s front door would appear legitimate. It’s also conceivable that the company owner or personnel would not see a sticker on the front door right away. Who would think to seek for anything like that?
I’m paying a bill. Some criminals have sent emails posing as utility providers or officials of the Social Security Administration or the IRS. In these scams, the offender will say that you have failed to pay a debt and will threaten to jail you, shut off your utilities, or do something else heinous.
You can image an elderly person being worried and duped by this hoax. In any event, the utility “worker” will then inform the victim that the standard payment site is now unavailable (which should be a massive red flag). That they can pay and put things right by scanning the handy dandy QR code that the thief has just supplied.
That is part of the cleverness of these con games. Fake QR codes appear genuine and professional. It happened lately in San Francisco with traffic ticket payments.
Here’s how you can avoid falling prey to a QR code scam
Never again use a QR code. No, that seems unrealistic and a little sad, because you’d be cutting yourself off from what’s becoming an essential element of our digital society. So, don’t do that. You have a few alternative possibilities instead.
Maintain vigilance. Just as you wouldn’t give up email, texting, or using your phone (all methods used by con artists to defraud their victims). You should consider about the circumstances surrounding this QR code before scanning it.
If you get a QR code in an email, you should carefully examine the email before scanning it. It might be a genuine email, however some thieves send emails that appear to be from a legitimate organization, thinking you’ll scan the QR code to obtain a voucher. Furthermore, most firms encourage clients to download a QR code from their app rather than sending an email with a QR code to scan.
Then, if you scan the QR codes and it leads you to a website, take a close look at that as well.
“You’ll want to look at the URL at the website you are brought to before interacting with it,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a firm that creates sophisticated technology products and services.
Be wary, since they may choose URLs that are nearly comparable.” “For example, they may alter a single letter from the legal URL, or they may change a.com to a.net.”Gardener explained.
Alternatively, you may see that the URL begins with http:// rather than https://. The absence of that “s” does not inherently imply a terrible website, but it is not a good indicator. An “s” at the end indicates that the website has added security to any data transferred between your device and the website
You might download a QR codes scanning app. There are free and low-cost QR codes scanners available; you launch the app and then scan the QR code; if it’s a fake, you’ll be notified. It’s similar to installing software to keep viruses off your computer, only these QR code scanner apps keep false QR codes at bay.
The only flaw with this strategy? Fake QR codes scanner applications are also available.
Gardner and Hayden, like many cybersecurity experts, believe that as long as you use a reliable QR codes scanner, it may be a smart method to add an extra layer of security. Hayden mentioned that several well-known antivirus vendors also include QR codes readers.
Keep your phone’s security patches up to date. If you do end up downloading something nasty, this may assist you battle it.
The verdict on QR code frauds
If you scan a phony QR–code and find you’re on a bogus website, don’t worry; instead, close the website right away. The bogus QR–codes should not do any harm to your phone. What happens next is usually what gets you in trouble. Do you, for example, click on anything on a bogus website that installs malware? As you fill out a form, do you wind up giving burglars your personal information?
While QR codes are convenient, they have opened up another route for fraudsters to prey on the naïve. said Chaudhuri.
And, if we don’t want to become a cautionary tale, it’s up to all of us to be cautious.