In the ever-techy world of swiping cards and detecting machines, too much of anything in technology can also prove to be hazardous as safety precautions become rare with the fast detection QR codes required to access almost all markets globally now!
The most dangerous scam of technology spreading disturbingly fast is QR code technology. In every place where a crowd is an audience, whether it be the shopping malls or weekend getaway restaurants where the latest trend sometimes requires a QR code for paying bills to scan through. However, with the advent of QR codes being produced daily for something, malicious intent QR Codes are hiding amongst them!
What is the mystery behind this increasingly gripping technology, and how QR code patterns are utilized to hack into our lives? The big answer you are looking for is, better yet, how to safely use the QR code at any place without the risk of giving away personal information. In the article below, we will fill you in on all the necessary safeguards to keep yourself aware of any fake QR codes designed to take hold of your life by hackers and how to detect the real ones.
What Are QR Codes and Their Purpose?
QR codes are the new face of technology where a tiny box with a bizarre-shaped, attractive design can transfer your payments or information you agree to give within seconds! Let’s give you an overview of how QR codes were introduced in our ever-tech-loving world. QR codes may have received their recognition after decades of being made; however, the QR code swift technology was created in 1994. Any technology takes time to settle amongst the markets and capture people. However, QR codes have specifically arisen after the human race went through the isolated period of the Covid Pandemic in 2020 and onwards.
According to ExpressVPN, this speedy increase in the use of QR codes and users scanning the QR codes without much knowledge has given a place to fraudsters who can hack into your life by designing fake QR codes. Far from the original purpose of QR codes, built to make many of your daily life dealings safe and private, fake QR codes have led to the rise of QR code scams.
How have The QR Codes Advanced In Usage?
The advancement in technology, where almost all mobiles, whether high cost or low, comes with a camera, has assisted the QR code technology to settle in our world today for the foreseeable future. The QR code is scanned through with these standard high-quality rear cameras of our smartphones, and with the safe internet being available everywhere we go now, the QR code technology arose to use globally.
With each decade, technology is taking up newer heights as people succumb to the ease that technology, such as QR codes, presents for daily life. QR codes are now more common and provide a direct portal to the online address for which the QR code is specifically designed. Whether it be old password input systems and website links created to provide a shortcut or complex data, all stored in the abstract design of QR code, amidst the Covid pandemic, the users discovered it. Hence, it has become more common for people to click the QR code as their mobile camera detects the code, which leads straight to the desired outcome.
The QR Code Scan Scams!
With its quick scan technology upon passing the camera on the given QR code, people have begun to comfortably depend on it as all-powerful brands provide an option of the scan to pay for QR code technology. However, any coding technology that seeps into the open global markets and people’s mobile phones, essentially wherever they may be, can be susceptible to corruption!
Around the world, Asian countries and North America have seen a peak in QR code dependence. The Chinese population has the highest number of users scanning through the QR code in most transactions and regular affairs where a QR code is required.
According to Statista, the country to make $2.2 million in transactions in 2023 is China, with the most QR scans through payments. The whole of East is also adopting the QR code scans more speedily as the technology is easy to adopt with no authorization limit on the number of QR codes designed.
But with this lack of authorization and easy to permeate into people’s phones and personal data, technology comes with a heavy responsibility to be aware of fake QR codes designed to snatch your transaction details directly, providing access to online hackers and thieves. As QR code scams have increased, people trustingly scan through with no awareness that with one scan, they can offer fraudsters a portal to all their sensitive information from their bank account to browsing history to even home address!
What Safeguards To Adopt To Shield Against Dangers of Fake QR Codes:
Undoubtedly, it’s hard for newby or even loyal users of QR codes to distinguish between a legitimate QR code and the fake one. This is because of the similar design and scammers’ ability to adopt these codes publicly!
This has become the easiest way for hackers to hack through your phone with a QR code and scan wifi password. People, especially youngsters, can quickly become prey to this as they comfortably trust such public space wifi, which can be an invitation to scammers as soon as the phone connects with free wifi which are QR coded to grab all your sensitive information like your current location and passwords to personal accounts which they sell on high demand on the cruel world of dark websites where kidnappers and cyber thieves are always ready to prey.
Online shopping brands have also become a portal for fake QR code scammers to pass through, as each product now contains a QR code designed specifically for its details to provide to buyers. However, with the rise in swift online shopping after the isolated period of the Pandemic 2020, users need to become more trusting of online markets. This has caused hackers to provide false QR codes on such online payments for products to scan through.
Therefore, as users of the fast-paced technological world, you should be aware of online market sites which wrongly provide a QR code to scan through in the pretext of selling bogus products! So, always shop online from brands with a loyal user base and recognition for actual standard sales.
With the rise in corporate and professional email sites, cyber fraudsters can also send fake emails to users with the sake of identities and website links to bogus company presence to gain trust. While users click to check, they can be given a malicious QR code, which they design as a necessary step to further the process. Hence, users without much technical knowledge can trustingly scan through the QR code on such bogus emails and risk all their life’s data!
So you should be aware not to click on such QR codes on emails claiming to be from some company as this has also become a quick way for hackers to hack through as you click on this fake designed QR code!
Public Place Transactions:
With QR codes aiding human beings for more secure payments and fast scan-through passes in public, scammers can also damage the originally designed QR codes in public use. In processes like public transport checkpoints, typical side cafes, and most dangerously, fuel stations!
Even parking spaces are familiar spots for fraudulent groups to hack your information. They sometimes post parking stickers with incorrect QR codes, which can be published as there is still a need for more awareness on public place security or authorization on QR codes. These QR code scans can lead to bogus websites where cybercriminals require payment details to get a fake payment. Hence, to safeguard yourself against such malicious codes, you should never scan through public QR codes without extra caution and choose another way of making payments or direct website checking if you are bound to use such public QR codes to gain the source’s trust.
As with the rise of various illnesses and viruses amongst the growing population, healthcare institutions have also become a place for scammers to get personal information like security numbers from patients without them suspecting it.
QR codes have undoubtedly helped the healthcare industry worldwide scan patient history and store critical patient updates within seconds; however, with such platforms come ill-intent scammers too.
So make sure not to scan through any self-claiming healthcare organization trying to get information with the pretext of a QR code to get even minute details.
Well, with such widespread unauthorized use of QR code technology with trillions of scans through transactions and website links and data requirements by each sector every day, this has provided a portal to dangerous people who can manipulate these QR codes or even create new fake ones.
Whereas, QR code technology is a secure method recommended by professionals; however, no technology is immune to hackers anymore. We hope the above guide is enough to inform you on how to stay cautious before scanning a QR code anywhere online or physically.