Colorado Springs — QR codes seem to be everywhere now. A quick scan with your smartphone can help you download new apps, read restaurant menus, launch websites, and more. But the FBI and local cybersecurity experts say hackers and scammers are taking advantage of the convenience.
The FBI recently issued a QR code warning that criminals put fake QR code stickers on top of real QR codes. Investigators say the scam has taken place at restaurants, banks, emails and even parking his meters across the country.
Rick Crandall of the National Cybersecurity Center said:
He says scammers have a purpose.
“Mobile phone makers make it very easy to just point your camera at the QR code. It looks like it, but it really moves you to a place where bad things happen digitally,” said Crandall.
According to the FBI, there are several ways people can be victimized using spoofed QR codes.
- The code directs consumers to fake phishing websites that try to trick them into “logging in” and inadvertently sharing passwords or providing personal or banking information.
- The FBI also warns that if you scan the wrong QR code, scammers can track information from your phone and even hold you hostage for payment and lock you out.
“Companies will have to start taking responsibility for the code they use,” said Crandall. “QR codes are one of the latest ways to trick people into places they shouldn’t be, and he should be very careful.”
The NCC says there are steps it can take to reduce the risk of QR code fraud.
- Before scanning a QR code, check if it has been altered or tampered with
- When you visit a website, we do our best to ensure that it is genuine
- If you go to a payment site, call the company directly to confirm.
- If the code leads to app downloads, experts say it’s safer to download from app stores.
If you believe you have been a victim of QR code fraud. The National Cybersecurity Center has experts who can help you fix the problem and take steps to protect yourself in the future.
To contact experts at the National Cybersecurity Center:
- 3650 N Nevada Ave Colorado Springs, CO 80907
National Cyber Security Center
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