Do you use QR codes to pay for goods and services? A fake code can cost you money, and even your identity. Here are ways to protect yourself from a QR code scam:
What is a QR code?
A QR code, which is an acronym for “Quick Response code,” is a square barcode that can be scanned using a smartphone. It leads directly to a website or app. Businesses use QR codes for any number of reasons, from posting online menus, to scanning coupons, to processing payments and more.
Ironically, QR codes should help prevent fraud, since they take the user directly to the desired site, leaving no room for misspellings or for scammers to lure victims to a bogus website. Unfortunately, though, scammers have found a way to take advantage of QR codes.
How the scam plays out:
In a QR code scam, a scammer will replace a legitimate QR code with their own code. A target will then scan the code and make a payment for a transaction. Unfortunately, the target has sent their money directly to the scammer and has not made a payment for the transaction as they believe they have.
How to avoid a QR code scam:
When scanning a QR code, it is a good idea to treat the link like any other email or text message. Proceed with caution and practice online safety measures as you would with any other online transaction. Check the source of the QR code and the URL that the code directs you to for common signs of a secure site, including a lock icon, an “s” after the “http,” and whether the URL matches with the URL of the intended site destination.
If the webpage or app the code sends you to looks suspicious in any way, leave it. You can access the payment portal you need by visiting the app or website on your own.
When using a QR code, look for these red flags that can indicate a possible scam:
- The URL is different from the home site.
- The QR code is posted on a public sign or notice that seems to be tampered with.
- You notice typos on the site or app the code brings you to.
If you were scammed:
If you have used a QR code to pay for a transaction and subsequently received an email from the company claiming you have not completed the payment, or that the payment failed, you may be the victim of a QR code scam. Let the company know that its QR code has been tampered with and alert the FTC as well.
If your personal information has been compromised, take advantage of your Benefits Plus® membership with SeaComm. Once you upgrade your basic checking account to a Benefits Plus® checking, you will gain access to a full range of fraud and identity-theft protection services, including fraud alerts, lost document recovery services, 90-day Purchase Protection, and much more. Click here to learn more, or stop by your local SeaComm branch to enroll!
For complete information, terms, conditions and exclusions please visit www.benefits-plus.org or call 866-329-7587.