Tuesday Tip: Before You Scan That QR Code…

Scanning advertising with QR code on mobile smart phone.QR (quick response) codes are cool and have become more popular, especially since the pandemic. You can find them on direct mail ads, at retail outlets, on company websites, and in many other places to get more information about products or to score a coupon code or discount.

While many of the codes are trustworthy, some can be dangerous; cybercriminals can exploit and lurk behind a fraudulent QR code. Here are some things to keep in mind before you scan one:

  • Just like you shouldn’t click on suspicious hyperlinks or download unknown attachments, especially from a stranger, QR codes can take you to a weird website that could cause trouble. Worst case, a crook can download malware to your device or direct you to a site where they will try to obtain your personal and financial data or log in credentials. Once in, they can have a field day by accessing and compromising your online accounts, peer to peer payment apps, social media pages, contact info and photos.
  • Don’t trust a QR code supposedly sent by a friend in an email, text, online post or mailer. Their account could have been hacked. Instead, use your browser to visit the site using a domain name that you know is legit.
  • Criminals are known to distribute flyers with malicious QR codes or put fraudulent stickers over a legitimate one in public places like train stations and bus stops. Malware could be installed on your device and cause a whole host of problems.
  • Beware of using a QR code to pay a bill. There are many other secure payment methods that are less susceptible to fraud.
  • Consider downloading protections that check for malicious or inappropriate content: Sophos Mobile Security or Kaspersky are two good ones.

Ultimately, QR codes can be easily created, but like other tech tools, can be highjacked by fraudsters. Beware before you scan.

As a Client Manager II, Sandra provides customer service, desktop support and account management for the customers of Network 1. In this role, she pulls on her more than 10 years of experience to help clients maintain their networks, software and hardware as well as troubleshoot and solve any issues as they arise.

Network 1 designs, builds and supports the IT you need to run your business more securely, productively and successfully. Whether you want to outsource all of your IT needs to a reliable, responsive, service-oriented company, or need to supplement the work of your internal IT staff, we will carefully evaluate where you are now, discuss where you want to go and implement and support a plan to get you there with as little interruption as possible.

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