FTC warns about QR codes

Reporter: Andryanna Sheppard
Published: Updated:

Quick Response Codes, also known as QR codes, seem to be everywhere nowadays, but the Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning about these handy codes.

From your own TVs to your favorite restaurant, QR codes have become a part of everyday life. They let you get information instantly on your phone or device.

According to government watchdog insider intelligence, 94 million Americans will use their phones to scan a QR code this year, but now the Federal Trade Commission said they can be used to steal your personal information.

Fraudsters might email or text a malicious QR code directly to you.

They might post them in public places, like concert venues, parking garages, or on flyers. The QR code itself can automatically install malware on your device.

Sometimes, the codes can take you to a phony website that looks real. If you log in, schemers can snatch any info you give them.

But there are ways to protect yourself from being a victim of QR code identity theft.

Think twice before scanning. Insider intelligence says if its URL has errors or misspellings, that could be a sign of fraud.

Just like links in unsolicited texts and emails, beware of unsolicited QR codes. Update your phone’s software with the latest version.

Always protect your online accounts with strong passwords and use multi-factor authentication so only you can access your personal information.

Some security experts say not to use a QR code to pay a bill. There are other payment methods that are less susceptible to fraud.

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