QR Code Scammers Are Out There

Feb. 22, 2024

Scammers are getting trickier by the day and embedding their dishonesty into everyday resources that we use.

QR Scammers - Person scanning QR with phone camera

Defrauders have a penchant for identifying the tools that people rely on the most, which is why it is unfortunately common to see scammers slipping into your emails via phishing, text message, and social media accounts. 

QR codes are the latest tool being attacked by the dishonest. QR codes are a part of our regular toolbox, allowing us to seamlessly navigate to websites, menus, images, access concerts and events, itineraries, etc., with precision. Unfortunately, scammers are seeing the broad usage of these codes as an easy way to steal personal information by hiding harmful links.

This is another way your information can be compromised. So how do you protect yourself and how do you spot the signs of QR code fraud? 

  • QR codes generally do not have a sense of urgency. If you see a QR code that encourages you to scan as soon as possible or threatens a consequence if you don’t scan it, think twice before proceeding. 
  • Fraudulent QR codes are often placed overtop of legitimate codes, like in the cases of QR codes at parking meters. Before scanning, carefully inspect the QR code, URL, and stamp prior to scanning to see if it appears tampered with. If so, do not scan. 
  • QR code fraud also regularly comes in the form of text/email fraud, asking you to scan a code for various reasons:
    • Claims that a package cannot be delivered unless you scan a QR code
    • There is a supposed problem with an account like PayPal, and you are unable to stop a charge from going through unless you follow the QR code
    • You receive an email stating suspicious activity was seen on your account, and to view the activity, following the QR code is necessary 

Fraudsters are becoming more diligent and deceptive in their behaviors by the day. As always, with your QR codes and any piece of digital technology, if something doesn’t seem right, stop before proceeding. It could save you a tremendous amount of trouble in the long run. 

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