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FTC Warns Against QR Code Scams: A Gateway to Identity Theft
QR codes, those familiar black and white squares that have become ubiquitous in our daily lives, are under scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Amid the convenience and growing use, with around 94 million U.S. consumers expected to use smartphone QR scanners this year, the FTC has issued a stern warning about the potential risks associated with these codes, especially their potential to become a gateway for identity theft.
The Dark Side of QR Codes
Scammers are exploiting QR codes, replacing legitimate ones with their own or distributing them via text or email. These manipulated codes can redirect consumers to counterfeit websites where any information entered is stolen. Moreover, they can prompt the installation of malware, capable of stealing information without the user’s knowledge. The aftermath of this scam can be devastating, leading to a vast range of fraudulent activities.
Identity Theft: A Pandora’s Box
Identity thieves can exploit personal data to commit various illicit activities. These include draining bank accounts, making unauthorized charges on credit cards, opening new utility accounts, obtaining medical care under someone else’s health insurance, and even filing false tax returns to claim unwarranted refunds. The exploitation of these QR codes has thus become a tool for these scammers, opening a Pandora’s Box of potential threats.