Fraud Friday: Avoiding QR Code Scams

Mar 15, 2024 | Featured, General News

Another day, another new scam. Unfortunately, folks, scammers’ creativity knows no bounds, so this Fraud Friday we’re sharing 5 steps you can take to help safeguard yourself from a recent development in the fraud world: QR code scams.

Understanding QR Code Scams
QR codes, those square patterns of black and white squares, have become ubiquitous in our daily lives, offering a quick and easy way to access information or services. You’ve undoubtedly noticed QR codes just about everywhere these days, whether you’re scanning them to view a restaurant’s menu or to board a flight. Alas, scammers have learned they can deceive folks by hiding harmful links that direct users to phishing websites designed to steal personal and financial information.

5 Ways to Protect Yourself
1. Inspect the URL before clicking.
When scanning a QR code, take a moment to inspect the URL displayed on the screen. If it seems suspicious or doesn’t match the expected destination, refrain from scanning the code. Sometimes fraudsters will change just one letter or character (a technique called spoofing)— so be extra mindful when you check.

2. Avoid unknown QR codes.
Be cautious when presented with QR codes from unknown or unverified sources, especially in public spaces. Scammers may strategically place fraudulent codes in high-traffic areas (for example, on parking meters) to trick unsuspecting individuals.

3. Be wary of unexpected messages.
If an email or text message you weren’t expecting asks you to scan a QR code— especially if it urges you to act immediately— don’t click the link. If you think the message may be legitimate, use a trusted phone number or website to contact the company.

4. Update your device and apps.
If you haven’t already, you may want to set your phone to update automatically. Regularly updating your device’s operating system and any installed applications, including your QR code scanner, is a good way to increase protection. Updates often include security patches that protect against the latest threats.

5. Use a trusted QR code scanner app.
Use a reputable QR code scanner application downloaded from a trusted source, such as your device’s official app store. These apps often have security features to detect and block harmful content.

By following these simple yet effective measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to QR code scams. Stay vigilant, be cautious of unfamiliar codes, and take the necessary steps to protect your personal and financial information.

Here at GCSB, we’re committed to helping members protect their financial well-being, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any concerns. Your security is our priority.