CyberTalk: Don’t scan QR codes to ‘receive’ money


Published: Publish Date – 12:45 AM, Tue – 28 Jun 22

The country is rapidly moving towards a cashless economy as digital transactions have made life easier by eliminating the need to travel to make cash payments. Simply log on to the internet and the NEFT or RTGS transaction is completed through a short-term payment method called Unified Payment Interface (UPI) offered by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

UPI has become one of the most popular payment gateways. Simply scan a quick response (QR) code and enter a four-digit PIN to authorize financial transactions, and the entire transaction is completed in seconds. Many payment applications that use QR codes are Google Pay, Paytm, PhonePe, BHIM, Mobi Quick, PayZ, Razorpay etc.

A QR code is a scannable barcode that is encoded with the data. However, fraudsters are now taking this feature as an opportunity and creating their own QR codes to steal personal information and money from gullible victims.

shopping qr code scan fraud

Many crimes are committed through phishing calls, SMS/emails or social media. Scammers have now changed their modus operandi to QR code scanning fraud, and let us discuss how QR code fraud happens. Victims lose money as soon as the code is scanned, unaware of the fact that scanning the code results in a loss of money.

*Step 1: On online marketplaces and classified advertising portals, most advertise the buying or selling of second hand cars, bikes, etc. As soon as he sees the ad, he poses as a potential buyer, negotiating the price and looking for all. information, and also asks for bank accounts and related details.

*Step 2: The scammer calls you and says that he is unable to pay the bank citing technical details, and engages you in a hasty phone conversation before sending the QR code and requesting it to be scanned Is.

*Step 3: Scammers keep talking to you and divert your attention so that you don’t think of anything other than getting money. As per the instructions of the potential buyer (fraudster), the victim scans the QR code, assuming that QR scanning will get you money. But instead of being credited, money gets debited.

qr code scan fraud

* One way is to send a text message like “Congratulations on winning Rs 5,00,000, with a picture of a QR code.” The message will entice the victim to scan the code and enter the amount, followed by a UPI PIN to receive the cash in the account.

* Another method involves using false QR codes in phishing emails, texts or social media posts. After scanning the QR code, users are assured of a refund or offer, where the victim can be invited to scan the QR code to receive the money.

* A fake QR code can lead you to a website that may install malware on your smartphone or laptop or attempt to trick them into entering credit or debit card information or stealing other sensitive personal data .

* Buyers from online marketplaces and classified advertising portals demand to send the item to you before you pay for it or provide fake payment proof.

how to stay safe

Remember that QR codes are generally used to pay money and there is no way to receive money through this process. If someone asks you to scan a code to receive money, it is most likely a scam.

* If you receive an SMS requesting to send money, do not proceed

* If the buyer asks you to enter the PIN, stop the conversation with the buyer

* Never enter your PIN

* Take a little extra effort to report a seller or ad that you think is fraudulent

* Never call customer care numbers shown on Google; Check the email and telephone numbers mentioned in the respective portal and application.

* Since UPI payments can link multiple bank accounts, try to use limited personal bank accounts to avoid being victimized, using a salary account is not suggested.

What to do in case of QR code fraud

* Make sure you take screenshots of fraudulent transactions and report them on the respective e-commerce portal or app.

*Submit a complaint Or else approach the nearby police stations to register a complaint. Alternatively, victims can call the helpline number 1930, which is maintained and operated by state police officials.