Even if we everyone doesn’t use them, we are all pretty much familiar with QR Codes such as the one shown below. The Quick Response (QR) code is a two dimensional barcode that can be scanned and read by your cellphone. They have been around since 1994 and like a link that you click on, they can take you to a website or some other source of information quickly and easily. Advertisers were fond of QR codes because they were easier for consumers to scan then type in a long URL. However, no good deed goes unpunished and scammers are always ready to turn anything into a scam so it is not surprising that QR codes have been used by scammers to perpetrate scams and QR code scams have increased dramatically during the pandemic. Often the scams come in the form of phishing emails that instead of attempting to lure you into clicking on infected links, try to persuade you to scan the QR code which can result in your downloading malware on to your phone, such as ransomware or keystroke logging malware that can lead to your becoming a victim of identity theft.
Bitcoin addresses are also often sent through QR codes which is why they have been turning up in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency scams.
Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Just as I am always telling you not to click on links in emails regardless of how legitimate the communication may appear unless you have absolutely confirmed that the email is legitimate, so should you not scan QR codes unless you have absolutely confirmed that it is legitimate for the same reason. Downloading malware or being tricked by an apparently legitimate appearing website to provide personal information can lead easily to your becoming a scam victim or identity theft victim.
Fortunately, there are also apps such as the free Kaspersky QR code scanner app that will not only scan the QR code, but also let you know if it is legitimate and prevent downloading of malware from bogus QC codes. Here is a link to Kaspersky’s QR code scanner. https://www.kaspersky.com/qr-scanner
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/