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QR Code Fraud

QR Code Fraud On The Rise

Have you used a QR code recently? The QR code made quite the comeback with the onset of the pandemic. Restaurants use QR codes to access menus, tv ads use QR codes to direct you to websites, and other service-based businesses have QR codes that lead to payment forms. Alas, cybercriminals have caught on to the increased usage of the QR code and have found ways to gain access to your personal information.  

Cybercriminals are creating fraudulent QR codes as a way to redirect consumers to phony websites, hijack payments, steal passwords or gain entry into your financial accounts. You may have caught onto the tricks that these same criminals use in phone call or text message schemes, but how can you stay alert when using a QR code?

Pay close attention to the website the QR code leads to. Does everything look secure? Are any words or the URL misspelled? If you aren’t 100% sure go directly to that website from your browser. If scanning a QR code off a physical location double check a sticker hasn’t been placed over the original QR code. Hackers can tamper with both physical and digital QR codes.

Remain alert when receiving emails. Just as you should be wary when receiving links in an email, be wary of a QR code. Often times emails that are attempting to trick you will try to create a sense of urgency. If someone is asking you to login to an account, or make a payment, reach out to the business directly to confirm the authenticity of the email.

Use a secure QR code scanning app. There are many free options available from well known antivirus companies. Make sure you recognize the company before downloading. These apps will detect any malicious code within the QR before your phone directs you to the site.


Brown, S. (2022, March 17). Four precautions on QR code fraud. PCBB. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from