The QR code (quick response code) was invented in 1994 but gained popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic. More and more restaurants are using QR codes by placing them on tables or counters, allowing customers to access the menu virtually with their smartphone cameras.
Now, the FBI has warned that fraudsters have found a way to exploit it to scam innocent people out of their money and data.
According to a survey by TitanHQ, an anti-phishing platform, 84% of mobile users have scanned a QR code at least once. This popularity has led to a rise in ‘QR code phishing’. Cybercriminals love popular technologies and use them to scam, hack, and cause malware infection.
Cybercriminals replace the legitimate menu QR code with a malicious one, which takes the user to a fake website designed to mimic the real account and steal gullible customers’ login, personal data, financial information, and money. Scamsters can access your contacts, download malware, or send you to a fake payment portal.
The FBI offers tips for scanning the QR Code safely
The agency said: “While QR codes are not malicious in nature, it is important to practice caution when entering financial information as well as providing payment through a site navigated to through a QR code.”