Don’t scan that QR code! Hackers use them to steal your information and money


Scan a QR code and you can get information such as recipes, menus, website links, contact details, links to download apps, coupons and more. Quick Response (QR) codes are a barcode that can be read by a digital device and were originally created to track automotive parts.

There are many third-party QR scanning apps, but you don’t even need one. Your phone’s camera can scan QR codes without the need for additional software. Tap or click here for more details.

While convenient and entertaining, scanning a QR code can expose you to malware and scams. The FBI has just issued a warning regarding schemes where cybercriminals tamper with legitimate QR codes to redirect potential victims to phishing sites.

Be careful what you scan

The FBI released a PSA this week explaining how criminals tamper with both digital and physical QR codes. In some cases, legitimate codes are replaced by malicious codes, prompting a victim to enter login and financial information. The cybercriminal can then do whatever they want with this information, including stealing money from the victim’s account.

In other cases, the QR code may contain embedded malware, allowing the criminal to access a victim’s mobile device, where they can access the victim’s location, personal and financial information.

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In cases where QR codes can be used to pay, a criminal can tamper with the code to redirect payments elsewhere.

Fraudulent QR codes are even being placed on parking meters in cities across the US. When a driver scans the code to pay for parking, he is taken to a fake website designed to extort money from him. Tap or click here for our report, including tips on how to spot this scheme.

What should you pay attention to?

The FBI has provided the following tips on what to look out for and when to avoid scanning QR codes altogether:

After scanning a QR code, check the URL to make sure it is the intended site and looks authentic. A malicious domain name may resemble the intended URL, but with typos or a misplaced letter. Use caution when entering login, personal, or financial information from a site navigated from a QR code. If you are scanning a physical QR code, make sure that the code has not been tampered with, such as with a sticker placed on top of the original code. Do not download an app from a QR code. Use your phone’s app store for a safer download. If you receive an email stating that a payment failed from a company you recently purchased from and the company states that you can only complete the payment via QR code, call the company to verify. Find the company’s phone number from a trusted site instead of a number in the email. Do not download QR code scanner app. This increases the risk of downloading malware onto your device. Most phones have a built-in scanner through the camera app. If you receive a QR code that you believe is from someone you know, contact them at a known number or address to verify that the code is from them. payments through a site navigated from a QR code. Instead, manually enter a known and trusted URL to complete the payment.

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