Kingston Police warn of scammers using fake QR codes

Image via Kingston Police Facebook page.

QR codes have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially due to social distancing efforts and a need for contactless services. They are commonly used to access restaurant menus, discount codes, and to make payments.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals have taken advantage of this tool, creating fake QR codes that trick you into providing your personal information, according to a release from Kingston Police.

“Since custom QR codes are easy to generate, cybercriminals can easily create fake codes for various malicious purposes,” police said. “For example, cybercriminals could place a fake code in a coffee shop, encouraging you to connect to free Wi-Fi. Or, they could place the fake code on a parking meter, enticing you to make a quick and easy payment. However, if you scan these fake QR codes, the cybercriminals may steal your payment information or redirect you to a malicious website.”

Police provided the following tips to stay safe from QR code scams:

  • Cybercriminals use the convenience of QR codes to trick you into acting impulsively. Always think before you scan.
  • Be cautious of QR codes without labels, or codes that promise outrageous deals. Remember that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Don’t share payment information or personal details via QR codes. Instead, navigate directly to a safe website to make the payment or share the details.
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