US authority warns against QR codes

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The American consumer protection authority warns against QR codes. Fraudsters could use the links hidden behind the codes to steal personal information.

Fraudsters pretend to be parcel deliverers
Between July and September alone, the cybersecurity company Trellix found tens of thousands of examples of attempted scams using QR codes, the New York Times reported. The dangerous codes can be hidden anywhere. The FTC is even aware of cases in which fraudsters have covered up existing QR codes with their own in places where the codes appear harmless, such as on parking meters. They often send the code by text or email, giving a seemingly plausible reason why it should be scanned. In such cases, the fraudsters would pretend to be parcel delivery staff or bank employees.

You are then often taken to a fake website that looks deceptively genuine. There, the fraudsters would then steal data, such as account information. Malware can also be downloaded onto the device via a QR code.

Protection against QR code fraud
The FTC recommends checking which URL you are accessing when scanning: does it look suspicious or meet your expectations? You should close the link and ignore the message if the wrong address appears. If you are unsure, you can ask your bank, for example, if they have sent the code.

It is also important to regularly update the respective operating system. Strong passwords and multi-factor authentication can also protect against fraud attempts.
The Verge has further tips for users. They recommend not using special apps for scanning QR codes but simply using the camera scan functions that Android and Apple have pre-installed anyway.

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