Scammers crack QR codes to rip off consumers.
Perhaps, you should know that the QR code is a contactless way to view a menu. Why keep handing out old plastic menus that can go through many hands while we fight the ransomware attack?
And now, scammers want to offer you that contactless experience too.
However, we know well why consumers don’t want to click on links or attachments in text messages or emails that come out of nowhere.
But the Better Business Bureau cautions consumers to be very careful if they are sent a digitally readable square known as a QR code.
Besides, a victim told the BBB Scam Tracker that she received a fraudulent letter about student loan consolidation. It contained a QR code that might link to the official Studentaid.gov website.
Also, the QR code helped make the letter, which was part of a fraud, look official.
However, using a smartphone camera, a black and white blob turns into a food and drink list on the restaurant menu, which is now on your phone.
Businesses also use QR codes to point consumers to their apps and track packages.
Don’t download malware.
However, as QR codes have become more widely used, BBB notes that it has received reports across the country of scammers using the system to their advantage.
Laura Blankenship, chief of staff and chief marketing officer for the Better Business Bureau serving eastern Michigan, said locally that she hadn’t received any complaints about QR codes yet. Still, it’s probably only a matter of time.
“This is a lot like a phishing scam,” she said.
“Just like clicking links, you need to be careful about the website you’re opening on your phone. Meanwhile, if you’ve never heard of the organization or website where the QR code is supposed to go, that’s a great sign. Alert “.
She said that the use of the QR code by scammers offers another way to steal personal information or have you download malware onto your device.
Experts point out that QR codes are a bit like a shortened URL when it comes to fraud. Therefore, a consumer will not be able to see where the link will take them immediately. So criminals can disguise their motives and abuse technology.
However, the BBB alert said the scam could start through an email, a direct message on social media, a text message, a flyer, or an email that includes a QR code.
In short, Scammers want you to scan the code with your phone’s camera. But you do not know where the QR code might take you or what criminals might do the following.
Some possible negative results:
Criminals can now send text messages to any contacts in a user’s address book. According to the warning of the US Army Cybercrime Department earlier this year, they are even sending payments to unrecoverable destinations.
The BBB warned: “In some fraud cases, the QR code will take you to a phishing website. Then they will ask you to enter your personal information or login credentials so that the fraudster can steal it.”
“Other times, scammers use QR codes to automatically launch payment apps or follow a malicious social media account.”
The scams may differ, but the criminals want you to scan the code immediately. However, you need to go back and make sure any correspondence is legitimate before scanning the code.
In such a case, contact the friend or coworker directly to see what they have sent and make sure the sender hasn’t hacked yet.