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Simar Nagi | 19 Dec 2022

QR Code Scam: Red Flags to Look Out For & 5 Simple Ways to Avoid Them

QR Code Scam: Red Flags to Look Out For & 5 Simple Ways to Avoid Them

Table of Contents:

  1. What is a QR Code?
  2. How QR Code Fraud Happens ?
  3. Red Flags to Avoid QR Code Scams

In today's world, we are nothing but thankful to technology, which has enhanced the ease of access and brought services to our fingertips.

But did you know that having the backup of technology in our lives is not totally blissful? Payment methods based on technology, such as QR codes or UPI, have given rise to cyber criminals' ability to steal and dupe. Like the QR Code scam, which occurs now and then in India, it has successfully exploited technically unskilled citizens and educated people into receiving or sending money by QR Code scanner.

But don't fret; the blog comes with dos and don'ts that will save you from falling prey to the QR code scams in India.

What Is A QR code

The QR Code's full form is' Quick Response Code'. Today, using QR codes has become an integral part of our lives, especially after the pandemic. The two-dimensional barcode made up of black squares in a square grid on a white background is used to make payments in cafes, shops, etc. Not only while making payments, but you can often see QR codes on tables to check the menu and order food instead of waiting for the waiter to arrive with food. 

So it would be safe to address it as a machine-readable code used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on the phone. 

Also Read: What is building code and its importance

QR Code: Real Estate Scams 

QR code scams initially started on second-hand products, but now they have spread to online property listing platforms. Usually, the fraudsters call the owner of the property while pretending to be a potential tenant and convince them to book the property by depositing the required security amount. For this purpose, they share a QR code with the property owner's mobile number. But once the landlords scan the QR code, they lose money instead of receiving it. 

There is an extreme increase in the number of such cases in the real estate market, all because people are unaware of the simple rule: never scan a QR code to receive money!

Also Read: 6 Common Types of Property Scams that you must know!

How Do QR Code Fraudsters Become Successful In Performing fraud

As we learned, a QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that carries information (mainly bank account numbers). Scammers come in front of you in different profiles, sometimes pertaining to being defence/army personnel or police officers. It is because citizens tend to trust such profiles quite easily. So the fraudsters try to trick people into scanning the QR codes, following which the money gets debited from the bank in the blink of an eye. 

Also Read: Necessity of Police Verification of Tenants 

5 Tips to Avoid QR Code Scams

Understanding the red flags mentioned below and taking precautions will help you avoid QR code fraud. 

Tip 1: Get an antivirus app for your phone.

The easiest way to prevent yourself from falling for a QR code scam is to install an antivirus on your smartphone, as it will help prevent certain types of malware from getting installed via QR code.

Tip 2: Conduct extensive research.

Whenever you receive an odd message containing a QR code, immediately do your research rather than instinctively scanning the code. For example, you receive a message from your bank, immediately approach the official website or the app and call customer care service.

If you come across an advertisement that you are curious about, don't get carried away. Instead, do your research and don't use the information in the advertisement. Instead, use Google to gain more insight about the company and check whether the ad is actual or not.

Tip 3: Keep in mind that QR codes are shared to send money, not to receive it.

Treat any QR Code that is intended to receive money as a scam. Don't get caught up in what a person tells you about the deal. At best, they will steal the amount by pretending to send it to you or stealing your financial information and using it elsewhere.

Also Read: 6 Quick Ways to identify overpriced property

Tip 4: Be blunt and say "NO!" 

Never let scammers take advantage of your empathy. The easiest way to avoid them is that if you don't know them, just don't scan their QR Codes. Sometimes people will try to talk you into sharing your QR Code, but all you have to do is just say NO and step out of it!

Tip 5: Stay alert at all times.

The most reliable way to not get trapped in the QR code scams in India is to stay up to date. So keep an eye on what the fraudsters are doing, coming up with new strategies, and what trends you are currently observing in your area. After all, knowledge is power

You will see many scammers trying to trick you into giving up your financial and personal details. But your newfound awareness of QR Codes gained while reading the tips mentioned above will help you stay one step ahead of any scammers you come across.

Also Read: Finance-Savvy Tips to Simplify Real Estate Investing


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