Tech expert Peter King has raised an alarm on the increasing vulnerability of individuals to ‘QRishing’ – a trend where scammers employ QR codes to defraud unsuspecting victims.
QR codes have become integral in accessing a variety of services seamlessly. However, with its widespread adoption comes the sinister infiltration of digital scams.
‘QRishing’ is a term derived from combining ‘phishing’ and ‘QR.’ It describes a scam where criminals cleverly substitute authentic QR codes with manipulated ones, directing victims to deceptive destinations and fraudulent transactions
A striking example surfaced last month in Madrid’s Bicimad bicycle-sharing system, where fraudsters overlaid original QR codes with fake ones. This redirected users to an imitation payment platform, illustrating the alarming ease and reach of such scams.
Peter King, curator of AI Product Reviews, opines, “Creating a counterfeit QR code is alarmingly easy. Criminals unscrupulously place these in public places, from transit stops to restaurant menus, preying on the unsuspecting public.”
“The danger of QRishing lies in the public’s unfamiliarity with it. While we’re conditioned to be wary of suspicious email attachments, a QR code doesn’t invoke the same level of scrutiny,” King added.
Tips to Stay Safe from ‘QRishing’
Only scan QR codes from known and trusted sources to avoid being redirected to malicious websites.
Be Cautious of Random Codes
Avoid codes in public places or online without clear context or source information.
Check the URL
Use QR readers that show the URL before opening the site, and ensure it’s legitimate and safe.
Beware of Payment QR Codes
Be extra cautious with QR codes related to payments. Always verify the recipient’s details and the payment amount before proceeding. Avoid scanning QR codes for payments from untrusted or suspicious sources.