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  • Apr 18, 2022

Tech Talk with Jeff - QR Codes

Just when you think you're getting savvy on the different methods scammers use to try and fool you, there’s yet another way – QR codes.

QR codes are popping up all over the place. They’re a convenient, quick way to take you to a website without error. In this age of COVID a lot of restaurants are using them to take you to their menus. They pop up on the TV to take you to a website being advertised. Even the government is using them to take you to payment sites for parking meters. All great and a very useful, easy to use tool.

So, what is the problem? What could possibly go wrong with the use of QR codes? They take you directly to the intended website. Clean and simple. The issue is when a scammer replaces the correct QR code with their own QR code that takes you to the scammer’s website. Oops. That is a problem. 

This has happened and continues to happen. A scammer slaps their easy to make QR code on top of the real one and suddenly everyone using it is going to a bad website. This scam method can be used to get you to make a payment, like for a parking meter, to the scammer and not the city. Or the bad QR code can direct you to a malicious website to infect your device. Whatever the purpose, it is not good or what you intended to have happen when scanning the QR code.

This is another example of a great technology that gets turned against us. Many organizations, including GFA Federal Credit Union use QR codes. They are an excellent way to direct a member to information. So how do you protect yourself? Be careful when scanning a QR code. Make sure you are only scanning QR codes from a legitimate organization and not one someone has put in place of the real one. You can also check the URL used by the QR code. If your phone lets you see the URL, check it for accuracy (the proper address for that organization). You can also do this immediately upon the page opening. If it looks fishy, exit the page. 

As with any of these various threats, you must be careful and watch out for yourself since scams can pop up anywhere, at any time, when you least expect it.

Be aware and be safe!

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