The Federal Trade Commission warns individuals to carefully consider before scanning a QR code, as it could result in identity theft.

The Federal Trade Commission warns individuals to carefully consider before scanning a QR code, as it could result in identity theft.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, using a QR code can put you at risk for identity theft.

QR codes, also known as Quick-response codes, are utilized by many businesses such as restaurants and retailers. With the use of a smartphone camera, these codes can store links and other data, making them easy to read. According to Insider Intelligence, it is predicted that over 94 million people will scan a QR code using their phone this year.

The use of technology can assist retailers in understanding customer actions, such as connecting a QR code with a store’s loyalty program. However, while this can benefit customers and aid businesses, it can also potentially allow malicious individuals to secretly obtain personal information from consumers, according to a government watchdog.


In certain situations, an individual may also assume your identity when apprehended by law enforcement, according to officials. Indicators that your personal information has been compromised include unfamiliar withdrawals from your bank account or unauthorized charges on your credit card.

What are some ways that scammers utilize QR codes?

Fraudsters may place their own QR codes in locations that are frequently encountered, like at parking meters, concert venues, parking garages, public flyers, and bike share racks. In some cases, they may hide legitimate business QR codes in order to obtain personal data. Alternatively, scammers may send unsolicited QR codes through text or email.

Fraudsters often use deceptive tactics by claiming that a situation is urgent. For instance, they may say that a package you weren’t anticipating was unable to be delivered and that you need to contact customer service right away.

The FTC stated in a blog post that their intention is for you to effortlessly scan the QR code and access the URL without any hesitation.

Strategies for avoiding scams while holiday shopping.

According to the FTC, some harmful QR codes can direct you to fake websites that resemble real ones. If you enter your login information on the fake site, scammers may be able to steal it. In some cases, simply scanning the QR code can result in malware being installed on your device.

Ways to avoid identity theft through QR codes.

Before scanning a QR code, carefully consider the source. If the code appears in an unexpected location, it is important to inspect it thoroughly. If you notice any misspellings in the associated URL, this could be a red flag for potential fraud.

Be cautious of receiving unexpected QR codes. If a message from a business seems valid, reach out to the company directly through phone or online platforms.

Please make sure to update your phone’s software regularly. It is important to always have the most recent versions of your smartphone’s operating system installed and to safeguard your online accounts by using strong passwords. Additionally, consider utilizing multi-factor authentication to ensure that only you have access to your personal accounts.

Megan Cerullo