Many new technologies facilitate ease of access for Internet users. Using technologies like QR codes has made it easier for businesses and normal internet users to access certain websites easily.
Not only this, but QR codes can also be beneficial for users if they want to make payments or get information about any brand directly. However, despite the multiple benefits of QR codes, it can not be denied that scammers can easily misuse them.
According to ExpressVPN, QR code scams are on the rise, and there have been multiple cases where scammers have replaced or tempered with QR codes to steal money from people.
ue to such occurrences, people should be made aware of the dangers of QR code scams and how they can be detrimental to Internet users’ financial and personal information.
Dangers Of QR Code Scams
Before looking at the dangers of using QR codes in public places and scanning them randomly, let’s see how they can be useful.
QR codes are a way of traditional barcodes, but since they store data in two dimensions, they can store more than a normal barcode.
This is why it is very easy for a QR code to store proper website information, while barcodes cannot store that much information.
However, QR codes are not well regulated by authorities, and thus anyone can generate a QR code for their website.
This is quite helpful for brands and businesses. However, it is also equally beneficial for scammers and hackers. Here are some common QR code scams and ways you can protect yourself against them.
Most Common QR Code Scams
QR codes were first invented in 1994, but the technology recently became popular.
Now more and more internet users are gravitating towards using QR codes, as it is way easier to scan a QR code than to find a website with the help of its URL. This is also why payment portals can be scanned with the help of QR codes.
Recently, many users in a general area were scammed thanks to the QR codes on their parking tickets. Someone swapped all parking tickets within the area, and many people ended up losing money.
The authorities were unable to estimate overall damage since they had to act quickly and get rid of all QR codes in the region.
Similarly, a lot of restaurants have started to use QR codes as a way for customers to check the menu and even place their orders.
But what if someone tampers with the QR code and replaces it? The customers could be redirected to a shady website that will look like the restaurant menu, but it could be used to siphon off user data from the device.
Hackers can send phishing emails or paste QR codes on your delivery boxes to get you to scan these QR codes so that you can access some shady websites.
They have also started to lure in users by creating QR codes and promising certain discounts on major brands.
How To Stay Safe While Scanning QR Codes
With so many dangers attached to scanning a QR code, the best way to remain safe is to simply stop scanning the QR code.
However, this solution is not feasible as almost every brand and website these days uses QR codes to facilitate ease of access for their customers. So here’s what you can do as an alternate to protect yourself while scanning QR codes.
First and foremost, do not scan any QR code from random places. It is better to scan QR codes that are created by trusted sources.
Similarly, whenever you are scanning a QR code, first ensure that it is not tampered with or a new QR code is not being pasted on the original QR code.
Whenever you scan a QR code, make sure to take a look at the URL of the website. Make sure that the website has an HTTPS URL and not an HTTP one.
Additionally, do not in any way or form provide any device permissions to the website that you have just opened, as it can be a way to get access to your device data.
And if the website looks shady, or does not look legitimate, make sure to close the tab and do not provide any information to the website.
As mentioned above, QR codes can heavily benefit internet users. However, if the technology is not properly regulated, it can easily be misused by cyber criminals and scammers to earn some easy cash.
Not only that, but accessing fake QR codes can also be dangerous for users’ personal information. That is why certain precautionary measures need to be taken by users when they are accessing or scanning a QR code.