Scammers are using QR codes to steal your information, FTC warns

Scammers are using QR codes to steal personal information, the Federal Trade Commission warned in a new consumer alert. 

As QR codes have grown in popularity, so have the scams surrounding them. These scammer codes can lead you to a spoof website designed to steal your information or install malware, according to the FTC. 

Some of the scams include covering QR codes on parking meters with a harmful QR code. 

The FTC said there have also been reports of scammers sending QR codes through text messages or emails. Some ways they try to con you into scanning include saying there’s a problem with an account you need to fix or that you need to reschedule the delivery of a package. 

There are several tips the FTC offered to help protect against these scams. 

First, if you find a QR code in an unexpected place, be sure to inspect the URL before you open it. Don’t scan QR codes in texts or emails you weren’t expecting. 

Lastly, protect your phone and accounts by keeping systems updated, using strong passwords and enabling multi-factor authentication. 

Earlier this year, the FTC said it saw a more than 500% increase in complaints of scam texts from 2015 to 2022. 

An FTC report in October said social media scams accounted for a combined $2.7 billion loss for Americans between January 2021 and June 2023.