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Guarding Against QR Code Fraud: Tips For Safe Scanning

In a survey conducted by the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, it was found that in 2023, India had over 1.2 billion mobile users, with 600 million being smartphone users. This data makes India the second-largest internet population country. The advent of technology has made life easy but it has come with its own consequences. One of these is QR code fraud, Over 30,000 UPI payment related cases are registered by the end of 2023 and these numbers are increasing day by day. Apart from various other scams QR code frauds in India is increasing rapidly. Since people prefer to pay their bills digitally everywhere, QR codes prove to be very useful in doing so. But scammers are stealing the hard earned money of innocent Indians. 

Now, the question comes what are the ways by which these scammers trick people using QR codes? It will help you to get knowledge of how to identify fake QR codes.

  1. Sending Phishing Messages: Scammers generally send false messages which prompt people to scan a QR code attached. They allure innocents by declaring a prize, reward, or any cash back. This prompts the person to click and thus financial transaction gets initiated from their accounts. Moreover, these messages look so genuine that people fall prey to them easily. By clicking on such scrupulous messages, Victims can lose large amounts of money and can regret it later. 
  1. Use of Fake QR codes: Generally, scammers take advantage of public places to display fake QR codes to the public. Although they display it for checking restaurant menus or for paying bills, the reality is something else. These people use fake QR code generators to do it. Fake QR codes are placed over the genuine ones to redirect the payment to the scammer’s account. Eventually, the person using such QR codes gets looted digitally. To avoid any fake QR code scanning, make sure you verify with the shoppers or person to whom you are going to send money, Cross-verifiy by asking his/her name, etc.
  1. Downloading Fake Mobile Apps: There are a lot of mobile applications made by scammers to loot the money of the common man. These fake QR code payment apps generate QR codes and people scan them for prizes or any offer. Moreover, in some cases, people fill their personal information which is then used by the scammers for transacting money. These apps steal your data and then the scammers use it for their benefit. Most of the time these apps are related to gaming, like online rummy, card games, or some betting related apps. Cross verify the details before using these types of apps.
  1. Social Engineering Tactics: Sometimes we have seen some viruses, security, or low data-related messages on our smart devices. These types of ads or messages always take you to some third-party websites. These types of websites are made by scammers on a temporary basis, they use non-authorized domains and URLs to create these types of website pages. Scammers use the trust exploitation method by first building it. They call people posing as security officials, Police personnel, lawyers, or even customer support executives to loot them. They send QR codes and ask you to scan them so that they can prevent your money from scammers. But in reality, when people click on the links or scan such codes, they suffer financial losses. They call with full confidence to gain your trust and their spoken skill prompts you to fill in your data.
  1. Tampering The Payment Process: Scammers are getting smarter day by day. They usually change the destination account details to loot the people. Thus, when a person scans the QR code, his money gets siphoned off to the scammer’s account easily. Even these scammers are so advanced that they get access to your details by just scanning these Phishing QR codes

As the use of QR codes is increasing in India, the government should take some precautionary measures to stop such activities. People who get looted should report the incident to the nearest cyber police station. Awareness programs should be carried out by people who have been looted in collaboration with technical guys. It is a major issue and should be dealt with care. The government should promote cybersecurity and recruit more technical people to trace these scammers. Moreover, cyber laws should be strict with harsh punishments to control these QR code frauds.

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