Fraud Prevention Spotlight: QR Code Scams

Stay Vigilant, and Think Before You Scan

QR codes are everywhere, from restaurant menus to parking meters.

They provide a fast and simple way to access information or services, but scammers can exploit this convenience by inserting harmful links into QR codes to steal personal information.

By being aware of these risks and following a few simple precautions, you can protect yourself from falling victim to QR code scams. Here's what you need to know to stay safe:

Common Scam Tactics

  • Public QR Codes: Scammers can cover legitimate QR codes in public places like parking meters, stores, and restaurants. The safest practice is to always inspect the QR code closely before scanning it to ensure it hasn't been tampered with. If something looks off, it's better to skip the QR code entirely and visit the official website directly.

  • Mail Tampering: QR codes on packages can be altered by scammers through mail or package tampering. Check if the QR code is a printed part of the packaging or a sticker that might have been added later. When in doubt, visit the company's official website to verify the QR code's authenticity.

  • App Store Scams: QR codes leading to app downloads can install malware on your device. If you are directed to download an app, take a moment to pause and research the app. Look into the app's reviews, how long it has been available, and what permissions it requests before installing.

Safety Tips

  • Pause Before Scanning: Only scan QR codes when necessary. Consider if you really need to access the content via QR code or if there are safer alternatives.

  • Check for Tampering: Look for signs of covered or altered QR codes, such as stickers placed over original codes. When possible, go directly to the official website to scan the QR code, especially in public settings.

  • Verify URLs: Ensure the URL matches the official website, paying close attention to misspellings or switched letters.

  • Avoid Unsolicited QR Codes: Do not scan QR codes from unexpected emails or texts, especially those urging immediate action. If you receive an unsolicited QR code, verify its legitimacy by contacting the company directly using a phone number or website you know is real.

  • Protect Your Device: Keep your phone’s operating system (OS) updated to safeguard against hackers and viruses. Installing a reputable antivirus app adds an additional layer of protection, helping to secure your device against potential threats.

For more information, visit our Fraud Prevention Page. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us directly.