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Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Throughout the pandemic, many businesses and services added QR codes to more easily connect consumers to information and links. When scanned with a smart phone, these QR codes take customers to a website. But like all popular technology, scammers have looked to take advantage of QR codes to scam others.

Our office’s federal partners alerted us to criminals using QR code scams to redirect victims to malicious websites designed to steal their information. In this scam, a business’ QR code is replaced with a fraudulent code. The cybercriminal’s code sends users to a fraudulent website that steals victim’s data, installs malware on the device, or asks for a payment that goes to the scammer or the business.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself from QR code scams:

  • After you scan a QR code, check the URL to make sure it looks authentic. Watch out for misspellings or domain names that don’t match the business. Never give our your personal or information unless you’re sure of a website’s authenticity.
  • Make sure the QR code hasn’t been tampered with. In many cases, criminals will use a sticker to put their malicious code on top of the business’ code.
  • Never download an app or software from a QR code.

If you believe you may have been the victim of a QR code scam, contact our office at 877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at https://ncdoj.gov/complaint.

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