Touchless QR codes gained popularity during the pandemic because it was the safest way to look at a menu in a restaurant. It prevents people from touching old, plastic menus that could be a carrier of the virus.
Although touchless QR codes seem harmless, scammers found a way to trick people into downloading malware on their phones.
Touchless QR Codes Targeted by Scammers
The touchless QR codes have been helpful in transacting during the pandemic to limit the spread of COVID-19. Even though this innovation provides benefits, the Better Business Bureau warned consumers that they need to be careful in clicking links that contain QR codes as not all of them are safe to open.
According to BBB Scam Tracker, a victim stated a fraudulent letter regarding a student loan consolidation.
The letter included a QR code that will link the user directly to the Studentaid.gov website. The QR code made the letter look official, but it was part of the fraud.
The quick response code, or QR code, is a matrix bar code that was developed in 1994 by Denso Wave, a Japanese auto parts supplier.
Using the camera on your phone, the back and white lines would load the digital copy of the restaurant's menu, allowing you to browse through the list of food and drinks on your smartphone, according to Detroit Free Press.
Companies also use QR codes for in-app payments and direct consumers to their apps, official websites, surveys, and track packages.
Dangers of Downloading Malware
Since QR codes are now commonly used, the BBB Scam Tracker stated that it had received hundreds of reports from across the country about scammers using the system to take advantage of the vulnerable.
Laura Blankenship, the chief of staff and director of marketing for the BBB in Michigan, said that although she had not received any scam cases related to QR codes just yet, she believes that it is only a matter of time before she does.
Blankenship said that the QR code scam is much like a phishing scam. Consumers are advised to be careful of what website is being opened on their phones.
If the organization or the website where the QR code directed you to is unfamiliar, that is considered a red flag.
Blankenship added that using the QR by scammers opened another door for thieves to steal their victim's personal information or trick them into downloading malware.
Experts stated that QR codes are just like a shortened URL. Consumers are not going to see where the link would go so that scammers can use it to their advantage, according to Fox 5.
The BBB said that the scam could start through a simple email, direct message, text message, flyer with a QR code.
The scammers will wait for you to scan the code using your phone's camera. Once they have full control of your device, the scammers can send text messages to your contacts via your address book.
Scammers can also send payments to a destination that law enforcement may find difficult to trace.
According to the U.S. Army Major Cybercrime Unit, scammers can also send deposits on accounts that are impossible to trace, and they can go through the bank details you have saved on your phone.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Sophie Webster