How to successfully scan QR codes

We put together a list of things you should do if you want to scan QR codes but aren’t sure where they came from. We will tell you some apps that can find them in no time.

QR codes are fantastic for sharing your WiFi password, WhatsApp number, or Instagram account with someone new. It progressively appears in store windows, advertisements, and business doors to encourage app and website downloads. What about restaurants and pubs that let you scan a QR code with your phone to receive their letter or menu?

But QR codes can be used for good or bad, just like short links. QR codes’ security issue is that you don’t know where they’ll take you until you scan them. Clicking the link opens it in your browser. Check to determine if you’re on a clothing store’s page or a scam page trying to steal your credit card information.

Below, we talk about the different ways that criminals use QR codes to get into your phone. We will also discuss how to avoid these traps and unpleasant shocks like a high phone bill or your personal information being stolen.

QR codes scanning is easy, but there are some risks

We said that the QR code is a square-shaped code with black pixels that can be used to share information. This information can be a link to a website, a text message, an image on the Internet, a phone number… QR codes are used to pay for products, carry aircraft tickets, check at restaurant menus, buy online, and view films offered on billboards or in magazines and newspapers.

Also, it’s not a secret how to read QR codes. Android and iOS may find these codes when you focus your phone’s camera on them. It displays the hidden link so you can view it in your browser or copy it to the clipboard.

But there might be a link to a fake page behind a QR code. What is meant by the term “phishing”? This page lets you log in to your bank account, email, or favorite online store. It can even lead you to download a fraudulent “official” software that infects your phone. If you haven’t updated your phone, it will lead you to download malware through a security weakness. Or to run a JavaScript program that does what its creator programmed it to do.

More from us: How to login to an old Hotmail account

How to avoid getting taken in by QR scams

We can take precautions before scanning a harmful QR code. Like other Internet and phone scams, you must be wary. Start by making sure your apps and operating system are always up to date. This will stop a fake or harmful app from using a security hole to get access to your phone’s information.

Second, don’t click on the preview link to avoid false QR codes. Entering unknown links is like clicking on an SMS link from a stranger. Sometimes you scanned a business’s QR code and the URL doesn’t appear like usual. Or it has an odd or generic domain, don’t open it in your browser.

Whether you want to scan QR codes directly with the camera or with a certain app, you will see a preview of what the QR code hides. If so, you can look for the link on the Internet to see if it has been reported before.

Using the HTTPS protocol instead of the old HTTP is one way to make sure a link is safe. If so, you’ll know that this page can be trusted, though that doesn’t mean for sure that it’s real or a fake.

And lastly, some important advice. If you want to buy something online or pay with a digital method, try to do it from the official apps and/or pages. Do not share your bank information or information about how you pay on links that you open with a QR code.

To stay calm and find out if a QR code hides a safe page or app or a dangerous one, you can scan the link that appears, just like we do with shortened links or files we download from places we don’t know. With sites like VirusTotal and others, you can check to see if a link is safe or if it is hiding something. And if you have an Android phone, you can use a third-party app that they recommend. The app checks your installed apps and any files or links you ask it to check.

If you have an iPhone, you can see a preview of the link before you click on it. On Android, there are more risks of installing fake apps and malware, so Google Play is full of security apps that let you scan QR codes in a safe way. This way, you can scan the codes and find out if they are reliable from the same app.


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