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A Quick Guide to QR Code Scam Detection and Prevention

QR code payments have streamlined how consumers pay for and buy products on online and offline markets in recent years. However, the ease of making payments online has led to criminals emailing a QR code and defrauding individuals.

In 2021, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s daughter Harshita was reportedly defrauded of Rs 34,000 by a guy who approached her as a possible customer on an e-commerce platform where she had put a couch for sale. Since then, other incidents of QR code scams have emerged on the internet, with victims losing anything from a few thousand to more than a lakh dollars.

How do QR code scams work?

Scammers frequently pose as possible buyers on prominent second-hand online marketplaces like Quikr and OLX and tell victims they want to make a transaction.

The fraudster sends a QR code to the victim over WhatsApp or other messaging platforms and instructs them to scan the code to ensure they are paying money to the right bank account.

To build the user’s trust, the fraudsters offer a little payment. After the victim receives some money, they send a QR code and instruct their victims to scan it to obtain the remaining amount. When the QR code is scanned, the fraudsters ask the victim to enter the amount they wish to receive and their OTP or UPI pin.

Scammers will sometimes tamper with QR codes by pasting their code on top of an existing code. This fraud is common at stores and gas stations where QR codes are put on the wall to make money.

How can I safeguard myself against QR code scams?

The first thing to understand is that QR codes are used to transmit money rather than receive it. If someone claims that you can obtain money by scanning a QR code, they are most certainly trying to con you.

When purchasing in public places, such as a juice store or a gas station, ask the merchant to show you which QR code to use. Many retailers in India have many QR codes on their products, and while most of them are authentic, others may be false.

Avoid reading QR codes while dealing with individuals on online marketplaces unless you are making a purchase, and aim to make these purchases in cash.

If you fall victim to a QR code fraud, contact your bank immediately and inform them of the transaction. If you believe the fraudster has acquired access to your bank account, you can request that your account be temporarily blocked.

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Stuti Talwar

Expressing my thoughts through my words. While curating any post, blog, or article I'm committed to various details like spelling, grammar, and sentence formation. I always conduct deep research and am adaptable to all niches. Open-minded, ambitious, and have an understanding of various content pillars. Grasp and learn things quickly.

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