How to Safeguard Against QR Code Phishing Scams

February 9, 2024   |   Written By Lexicon Bank
How to Safeguard Against QR Code Phishing Scams

In an era dominated by online phishing activities, exercising caution is paramount. Scammers are now exploiting QR codes to compromise IDs, pilfer funds, and conduct unauthorized transactions.

Table of Contents

Understanding QR Codes

QR codes, the pixelated shapes commonly seen in screens, prints, and billboards, are matrix barcodes invented by Toyota in 1994. Embraced by businesses for their ability to convey large amounts of data in a user-friendly manner, QR codes can redirect users to websites, play videos, open forms, or connect to share links and Wi-Fi networks.

The Rise of “Quishing”

According to cybersecurity provider Checkpoint, "quishing" occurs when criminals hijack QR codes, tricking users into scanning malicious codes. This form of cybercrime has surged by 587% in the current year alone.

Why Quishing Poses a Threat

Clever cybercriminals leverage QR codes to infiltrate phones and computers, compromising personal information, contacts, history, photographs, and recordings. Since QR codes don't reveal the link before scanning, users may unwittingly download malware or land on malicious websites.

This scam often entices users with teasers related to highly interesting information, exploiting users' online activities and preferences. Browsing habits, even on seemingly secure search engines, leave traces, making users susceptible to such scams.

Quishing activities tend to rise during holidays, major events, or nationally covered news stories. Heightened internet traffic during such periods provides opportunities for scammers.

The Challenge: Mimicking Official Sites

Phishing attempts often mimic official sites, presenting messages that appear to be genuine errors, urgent alerts, or offers. These deceptive lures prey on human emotions of curiosity, fear, or the need to comply.

Protecting Yourself from Quishing

  • Verify Sender URLs

Never respond to unsolicited emails without checking the sender's URL. Scrutinize the structure of the URL to ensure it matches the legitimate company.

  • Beware of Look-alike Websites

Phishing sites often replicate trusted websites. Always examine URLs closely, and be cautious of sites that resemble official ones.

  • QR Code Vigilance

Before scanning a QR code, visually inspect it to ensure its originality. Avoid scanning codes from unknown sources and use QR scanner apps that display website URLs.

  • Activate Privacy Features

Enable "private browsing" or use search browsers with anti-tracking features to reduce device tracking by third parties.

  • Regular Updates

Regularly update your devices to benefit from essential software patches that safeguard your information.


The above information is advisory and general. It does not constitute definitive or legal advice.


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