What are QR code scams and how can you avoid them?

April 5th · 3 min read

Guardio Research Team
Guardio Research Team

QR codes, which were originally designed for industrial use in the 1990s, compress a significant amount of visual data into a tiny area. In that regard, a barcode and a QR code are comparable; however, whereas a barcode can only contain three hundred bits of information, a QR code may store almost three hundred times as much data.

What is a QR code?

You have certainly seen them at some point while the epidemic has been raging on. Many restaurants are ditching paper menus in favour of QR codes, which spread germs. When you scan a QR code with your smartphone camera, it takes you to a website or app without asking for an address or searching for one on Google Maps.

QR codes may conceal danger

QR codes are very safe and reliable and are used by many people every day, Scammers, on the other hand, have discovered a way to weaponize QR codes as well. QR code scams are on the rise, and cybercriminals are finding more creative ways to use QR codes to scam people.

How to prevent QR code scams?

Here are some tips to keep in mind when scanning a QR code: Be suspicious of QR codes that don't direct you to a legitimate website or app.

Scan QR codes in a well-lit area so you can get a good look at them.

· Make sure you have the latest version of QR code scanning software installed on your device.

· Don't scan QR codes if they appear to be from sources you don't trust.

· The best way to avoid QR code scams is to be vigilant and use common sense. If something looks too good to be true, it is. If you are not sure whether a QR code is safe to scan, don't take the risk—just skip it.

· Avoid using a QR code to pay bills or shop online.

· Install good antivirus software on your device to protect yourself from QR code-based attacks.

· avoid using QR codes to transfer cryptos like Bitcoin.

· Try to visit a scam alert website or app on a regular basis to stay up to date on new (QR code) scams.

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What Should You Do If You Become a Victim of a QR Code Scam?

If you believe that your bank account has been hacked because of QR code fraud and you want to protect yourself, we strongly advise you to follow these steps.

· Scan for malware: Make sure that the potentially dangerous URL embedded in the QR code isn't infected with malware.

· Change your passwords: If you have already visited the website or app, change your passwords for all of your accounts immediately.

· Update your antivirus software: Make sure that you have the latest version of antivirus software installed on your device and run a scan.

· Contact your bank: If you believe that your bank account has been compromised, contact your bank immediately and ask them to help you protect your account.

The bottom line: QR codes can be extremely useful, but they can also be used to scam people. Be vigilant when scanning QR codes and make sure you only scan them from sources you trust. If you become a victim of a QR code scam, take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

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