Be careful when scanning QR codes, officials warn2023-12-12 06:26 by Daniela
Tags: QR, FTC
The US Federal Trade Commission has become the latest organization to warn against the growing use of QR codes in scams that attempt to take control of smartphones, make fraudulent charges, or obtain personal information. QR codes are everywhere and used for virtually anything, and naturally, bad actors have weaponized QR codes to use them in phishing attacks.
Attackers might cover up a QR code on a parking meter with their own one, which sends people to a fake payments website, the FTC warned. Some might send them directly through email or text, with an excuse for why it needs to be scanned: claiming that you missed a delivery or that there has been suspect behaviour on an online account, for instance.
Those links will usually take people to a spoofed website that looks real but isn't. They might then harvest login or payment details to be used for cyber crime.
The FTC warned people that they should check any QR code they see in an unexpected place, and ensure that it really is taking them to the right website. It might include a URL that looks like the one it is spoofing but swaps a letter, for instance.
It also warned people not to scan QR codes from unexpected emails or texts, "especially if it urges you to act immediately". If a message seems like it might not be legitimate, then contact the company through a known phone number or website, it advises.
Another piece of mind here is to avoid downloading QR scanners from the app store. Apple and most Android devices have built-in QR scanners in the camera.
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