As QR codes have become an integral part of our daily lives, a new threat has emerged – ‘Quishing’ or ‘QR Code Scam’ In this article, we will delve into the details of this scam, explore the surge in QR code usage, and provide essential tips to safeguard yourself from falling victim to these malicious activities. Let’s get started!
The QR Code Phenomenon
Over 89 million Americans use QR codes on their mobile devices, and their use has increased dramatically—especially during the COVID-19 outbreak. Through the use of smartphone cameras, these machine-readable pictures provide rapid access to a variety of services, such as hospital check-ins and restaurant menus.
The Rise Of This Scam
Regretfully, scammers hoping to take advantage of this trend have drawn attention due to the rise in the popularity of QR codes. A startling 587% rise in QR code phishing schemes was observed from August to September of this year alone, according to a recent analysis from Checkpoint. Fraudsters are creating fictitious QR codes that are placed in emails that appear legitimate, directing gullible victims to dangerous websites.
How ‘Quishing’ Works
The scam often begins with a deceptive email posing as a legitimate entity, such as your bank, employer, or other reputable business. The email urges you to scan a QR code for various reasons, such as checking into an upcoming appointment or viewing an invoice. Once the fake QR code is scanned, it redirects you to a spoofed website, prompting you to enter sensitive information like login credentials for your bank, work, or email account.
Beyond stealing personal information, some fraudulent QR codes lead users to websites that automatically download malware onto their devices. This adds a more sinister dimension to the scam, potentially compromising the security and privacy of your digital life.
Tips To Protect Yourself
Check the URL Preview
When scanning a QR code on your phone, always check the link preview that shows the URL it will lead to. If the link doesn’t align with the expected destination, exercise caution and refrain from proceeding.
Common Sense Vigilance
Incorporate common sense into your QR code interactions. Verify whether the link matches the context, especially when dealing with sensitive information like medical records or financial data.
Given the logistics, fake QR codes are more likely to be encountered through emails rather than in physical locations like restaurants. Before scanning any QR code received via email, thoroughly verify the legitimacy of the email sender.
As QR codes continue to integrate into our daily routines, the threat of ‘Quishing’ poses a real danger. Stay vigilant, exercise caution, and follow these best practices to protect yourself from falling prey to QR code phishing scams. By adopting a proactive approach, you can navigate the digital landscape securely and confidently.