How to avoid QR code scams
5:27

How to avoid QR code scams

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Speaker 1: QR codes are everywhere from your local cafe to the back of the share bikes. You ride around the city, but they're also being used by scammers to steal your personal information. Here's how to spot a scam and how to protect yourself from malicious QR codes. Speaker 1: You are codes used to be the kind of thing that you'd just see on ads or marketing flyers. But now these little square barcodes are appearing on everything from [00:00:30] AR games on pizza boxes down to light up drone displays. And during the pandemic, they have been a game changer. We're using them to check into venues to make payments. Even the fanciest restaurants are ditching their physical menus and going contactless with QR codes, but as they've become more popular and more convenient, cyber criminals have also taken notice. Now they're creating their own malicious QR codes to exploit people [00:01:00] and trick them into hand personal information like banking details. According to the better business bureau, QR code scams have been on the rise. So as we start to use these handy little barcodes, more and more, what do you need to know? Well, QR scams are similar to Phish scams that you might get sent via email with a link to a fake or malicious website. Speaker 1: In this case, scanning the code won't necessarily download a bunch of malicious spyware [00:01:30] onto your phone, but a scammer could use it to send you to a fake website where you fill out your personal information or your credit card details without thinking twice. Now, most of us have become pretty good at avoiding dodgy looking links in emails, but we wouldn't be so diligent when it comes to whipping out our phone and scanning a QR code, but the same rules still apply. The better business bureau says cyber criminals rely on us, scanning the code quickly without [00:02:00] taking a closer look at what we're scanning or where it's sending us. So that leads us to rule number one. Think before you scan, yes, you wanna get the drink specials menu at Tiki Tony's MYI heart, but take a closer look at that QR code before you scan it. Speaker 1: Is it just a sticker or is it part of a bigger sign or display? Is the QR code on a, a random flyer that someone handed to you in the middle of the street, then it's probably best not to scan it. [00:02:30] If the code looks out of place in amongst the background, ask for the URL. So you can just type it in manually or ask for a hard copy of what you're trying to download. Like the restaurant menu rule two, look at where the a QR code is trying to send you here. You wanna use the same skills that you use elsewhere when you're online. Is it leading you to the website that you were expecting? And does that website look like it should. If it's asking you for login details or banking [00:03:00] information that it shouldn't need, then best to just avoid it all together. Speaker 1: Rule three don't scan, QR codes that come in, emails, security experts say that's just a good general rule after all. If you're already on your laptop, reading an email, ask yourself, why does it need you to connect on another device? Rule four don't scan codes that come on, unsolicited junk mail, like flyers offering to help you consolidate debt. This [00:03:30] was one of the scams reported to the better business bureau from a victim who received a fake letter about student loan debt with a QR code that made it look a fit, but it definitely wasn't rule five preview. The URL that the QR code is trying to send you to. Now, a lot of smartphones will give you a preview of the URL as you hover over it with your camera, trying to scan it. That includes iPhones running the latest version of iOS. Make sure the website you see matches the service you ex specing. Speaker 1: [00:04:00] Does the link look strange? Well, if so, move on rule six, be wary of short links like Bitly addresses. If you can't read the full URL, you don't know where the link is actually sending you, and it could be malicious rule seven. You might wanna avoid using your phone's camera altogether and opt for a secure scanning app. Now, these are designed to spot malicious links before your phone opens them. Some of the big antivirus companies like trend micro offer, free scanning apps, [00:04:30] but another word of warning, make sure you're getting the app from a legitimate company. There are plenty of fake apps out there that scrape user information. Yes, malicious apps and malicious QR codes. It is turtles all the way down people. All right. Finally, rule eight, use a password manager. If a QR code takes you to a fake website that looks completely convincing to the human eye, your password manager will still know the difference and it won't auto. Fill your password. Also [00:05:00] while I have you here, just get a password manager in general, it's easily the best $3 a month I have ever spent. And it was ridiculously easy to set up. CNET has a full rundown on the best password managers and how to set them up. We like last pass one password and bit warden depending on your needs. So yes, QR codes are super convenient, but they're all also a potential risk. So remember, stop and think. And if it looks dicey, then steer clear.

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