In Austin, Texas, police are issuing a public warning about scams involving fake QR codes (quick response codes). You can find out which scam was used here and how you can protect your own data here.
Fraud scam false QR codes
In Austin, Texas, there have now been several cases of criminals pasting "fake" QR codes over QR codes in public spaces, for example on parking meters. Drivers who scanned this code with their mobile device to conveniently pay were redirected to the fraudsters' site instead of the parking provider's site. There, they then disclosed their payment data without realizing that they were enabling a payment to the fraudsters.
Protective measures against false QR codes
When dealing with QR codes, for example for redirection to a payment page or other requests for personal data, the first rule is: check the data! If you scan a QR code, the end device displays parameters such as a URL before it opens in the browser. As with all phishing attempts, it is important to check the URL.
Whenever sensitive or personal data has to be entered, special attention must be paid. If doubts arise, a safer route should be taken as a precaution. As a motorist at the parking meter, you could look for the URL of the website elsewhere on the parking meter in text form and then enter it manually.
Why QR codes?
QR codes were originally developed for the logistics industry. They were intended to enable information to be read out quickly.
Especially during the corona pandemic, the QR code is coming back to life. Now it is even used as a payment method and adorns various vaccination cards and test certificates. However, as can be seen from the reported frauds, this technology also harbors dangers in practice.
Conclusion: Stay attentive
Such and similar scams are in the headlines again and again. Both private individuals and companies are affected by phishing attempts. When passing on data, it is important to always remain attentive and to proofread the data.
Employees in companies should be regularly sensitized to this issue. Entrepreneurs themselves are well advised to regularly check their systems for incoming fraud attempts and to follow up on tips from customers.
If you would like advice on this topic for your company, our team of experts will be happy to help.