While QR codes are regarded as a "convenient mechanism," knowledge of QR code scam is still not widely known among the general public. To prevent this type of online fraud, we have provided a few straightforward suggestions that you should keep in mind.
The spread of technology is accelerating everywhere. The epidemic caused an increase in digital payments as people struggled to adjust to living in small places and adjusting to the new normal. Even though the ecosystem for contactless payments claims to offer secure service, not everything that glitters is gold. Although the procedure is largely straightforward and user-friendly, occasionally even the most straightforward thing might turn out to be a trap.
The biggest names in technology utilise QR codes to direct users to their apps. The QR code can be quickly found with a QR app (the full term is Quick Response). To read the code, only a camera and an app are needed. Although entering bank account information can be laborious, there's a chance that these codes could be dangerous. And because it's in our inclination to overlook small facts, internet fraudsters are more likely to carry out criminal operations.
A similar situation recently occurred with a woman as she tried to sell furniture on the well-known online classifieds site, OLX. The criminal originally agreed to buy the item from her before asking to further negotiate the payment method over WhatsApp. The fictitious buyer then distributed a QR code and pledged to pay the sum in advance. Her WhatsApp account uploaded a fake QR code with a 10,000 rupee price tag printed beneath it. It asked for the UPI pin after scanning the code.
She had no idea that entering the UPI pin would immediately withdraw Rs 50,000 from her bank account. Another similar incident occurred with one of my colleague's flatmates, but she was thankfully quick to report the prankster to the social media platform.
Three out of ten "gullible people" are victims of QR code scam practically every day, which is nothing new. Unexpectedly, this kind of fraud has become more prevalent recently thanks to con artists distributing QR codes on social networking platforms or exploiting UPI's request functionalities to make phoney payment requests with texts that read, "Enter your UPI PIN to receive money." As previously stated, this two-dimensional barcode seems identical to most human eyes. It's always wise to stay one step ahead of the game and take the appropriate precautions to prevent falling victim to such phishing, especially given the possibility of having one's device tricked into downloading malware.
Fraudsters even go as far as to place fake public QR codes (at malls, kiosks) in order to facilitate simple transactions or the easy flow of money into their accounts. While some victims are fortunate enough to receive compensation for their losses, not all banks are as kind to totally pay for being conned. The only way to prevent the miscreants from "abusing the technology" is to adhere to these easy-to-follow suggestions.
How to avoid being duped by QR code scammers
- It is essential to recognise a QR code, however it is recommended to avoid scanning any unidentified QR codes and instead regard them like shady links that you would prefer ignore to prevent being duped.
Alert your bank if you see any strange activity, and then change your password as soon as you can.
- It is challenging to identify the origins of QR codes because they sometimes include abbreviated URLs. In this situation, you can install a legitimate QR scanner that displays the URL before allowing redirection to the link (read the App Store reviews before installing it and look at the scores).
- Make sure you have an app with built-in filters if you use or are considering utilising a QR code scanner.
- Devices with security software that blocks harmful websites can be installed and updated.
- It is advised to notify the authorities and file a complaint with the cyber cell or submit an online complaint on the cybercrime.gov.in portal if you believe that you or one of your close relatives may have been a victim of this type of scam. Even though there is minimal likelihood of receiving compensation, it would at least deter thieves from using these strategies in the future.
How to identify if a buyer or seller is fake?
How to avoid getting scammed?
1. Verify details of buyer/seller before proceeding to payment.
2. Any individual showing urgency or not waiting for a reasonable amount of time is likely to be a scammer.
3. You should never scan a QR code, share an OTP, or visit a link given by anyone on the internet.
4. Your One Time Password (OTP), UPI pin, and other secret information should not be shared on WhatsApp. Never provide banking information if anyone asks you to, and always contact your bank. There is a possibility of fraud here.
5. It is recommended that digital escrow platforms be used for payments. When making an online payment with Escrow, you do not share your financial information with anyone. There is a platform for escrow called Vouch.
Digital Escrow Service In India.
Many companies in India offer digital escrow services. Among the most trusted is Vouch.
Vouch’s Digital Escrow service is a transparent way for buyers and sellers to build trust and secure a clean transfer of product and payment. Sellers can feel assured that they will be fairly compensated promptly, and buyers will feel confident that their order will be delivered as expected and on schedule. Vouch Digital Escrow keeps you updated and informed at every step of the transaction process till the end. Vouch’s professionals are always available to assist you with any queries that you may have during the entire transaction process.
There is no scope for deceit or fraud since the payments, shipping, delivery, and execution are carried out under the honest and watchful eyes of the Vouch’s professionals. With Vouch, any business transaction becomes transparent, uncomplicated, and hassle-free.
Check back here to learn more about escrow and how to protect yourself from fraud.
Safety is not just about protecting your credit, debit card numbers, and UPI accounts. It's about having control of your money till you've received the product or service you bought online!
Note: This is a good-faith initiative to educate the world about avoiding frauds like these and how to act when you're becoming a victim of such a situation.
Do you have a fraud you would like to report? Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
As you're now aware of the importance of online safety, let's get your transactions secure on Vouch. It's just a click away.