QR code phishing and ways to protect yourself from it

You can avoid getting duped and recognize QR code scamsters. Most victims are unable to understand tactics of fraudsters due to half knowledge of QR code.

Due to the pandemic, online/digital payments have recorded a huge rise. QR (Quick Response) codes have become a convenient way to pay and do business. The fraudsters hijack the QR code labelling system and are able to fool victims into downloading malware onto their smartphones or to phish to gain access to confidential information. We can see that advanced bar codes which resemble boxes of dots and squares — can make users direct to malicious websites. There are impostors who are virtually unable to detect.

The QR code has become the latest tool for spams, if you own a smartphone, you might have used QRs, with the built-in phone camera to scan the code. “QR” stands for “Quick Response” or “Quick Read” are meant to save your time. These are very convenient and easy to use as they can be seen everywhere, it provides instant details.

According to a recent report, the crooks use stickers to place their own QR codes on top of real and legitimates one — and they are difficult to spot the different virtually if they’re genuine or not. It is easy to generate the QR codes. There is no need for sophisticated equipment. Be careful! The fraudster reach out or engage you in talks as a buyer and will share a QR code to pay advance/token amount. Ne alert and DO NOT SCAN THIS QR CODE as this will result in money getting debited from your account. Please check for fraud as fraudster will create a QR code with a high amount and will share it with you through WhatsApp, Email or other platforms as. After scanning the QR code, you will be asked to Proceed with the payment and after you click on “Proceed”, you will be asked to Enter your UPI PIN and money will be deducted from your account.

WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Do not scan a code box that does not appear to be linked to anything else and has no accompanying text. Be careful about scanning a code in public places, like transportation depots, bus stops or city centres.

If you find it safe and decide to scan, it is advisable to check if the code is on a sticker. If it’s a sticker, do not scan. Use a scanner app that can check the website the QR code is directing to before taking you there. Smartphones that use the Android operating system are most vulnerable and frequently targeted devices. Secure reader apps are available. Do a search for “secure QR reader app” and the free Android app “Snap,” while “QR Pal,” free, is available for mostly all operating systems.

If you scan a code and see a web page that asks for confidential information such as like passwords, even if it looks like the real thing, don’t feed the information in it. You can deal with it later by paying attention to the product or other information on your PC. If you come across what appears to be a fraud QR code attached to a product, advertisement, poster, alert the owner of the site and save others from getting caught too.

Many organisations are using the benefits of these codes, it is essential to be aware and not allow the crooks to exploit or take advantage of you.

 

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