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Be wary of QR codes

QR codes are handy and there­fore used ever more widely. But there are also pit­falls to this tech­nology, which are brazenly exploited by criminals.

From simple links to instruc­tions for a bank trans­ac­tion: just about any type of infor­ma­tion can be stored inside those black-and-white pat­terned boxes. With the right app, these can be read and are often auto­mat­i­cally processed, too. This and the fact that the con­tent of a QR code can only be read by humans once scanned plays into the hands of fraudsters.

In the Nether­lands for instance, fraud­sters way­laid passers-by, asking them to pay a parking ticket for them using a QR code. In the process, this scam how­ever resulted in those helpful and inno­cent vic­tims dis­closing their access data to their bank account, which was then emp­tied of all funds.

Of course there are also imper­sonal methods of scam­ming via QR codes, for instance by simply pasting over a pay­ment code. All pay­ments made by scan­ning any such pasted-over QR codes end up directly in a scammer’s account and not in that of the recip­ient orig­i­nally intended.

QR codes can increas­ingly also be found in phishing mails. They are used to hide mali­cious web­sites from antivirus software.

Pro­tect your­self by fol­lowing the tips below:

  • Only ever use QR code scan­ners which dis­play the con­tent of a code to you first and don’t process it straight away.
  • Always check the link des­ti­na­tion or pay­ment infor­ma­tion once you have scanned a QR code before opening the target page or final­ising a transaction.
  • Don’t let anyone talk you into paying using a QR code.
  • Only use QR codes in any such sit­u­a­tions where you con­sider their use normal or harmless.

If you are con­cerned that you have been scammed, raise the alarm with your finan­cial insti­tu­tion directly, and also imme­di­ately change your access data.

Source: https://blog.malwarebytes.com/scams/2019/07/qr-code-scam-can-clean-out-your-bank-account/

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