Reassura Guide to QR Code Scams

Many of us didn’t know how to use a QR code before Covid hit but now if you are using the Track & Trace app or simply ordering food in a restaurant, we are all using QR codes. However, these QR codes can be dangerous and there are several QR code scams out there to be wary of.

What is a QR code?

A QR or Quick Response code is a barcode which smartphone cameras can read. Most of the common ones produce a notification with a link to a website. QR codes look very similar to the human eye.

What QR code scams are out there?

Clickjacking Some fraudsters are paid to lure people onto certain links so they replace bonafide QR codes, potentially next to a monument where tourists would expect to find information, with a QR link that takes users to a sleazy site.

Phishing – Fraudsters looking to steal personal details use QR codes to add a veneer of authenticity to their fake letter or email. The code takes the victim to a fake page where they hand over their details.

Payment Scams – Some services such as renting a city bike require a small, advanced payment to unlock the bike. Fraudsters replace the genuine QR code with a fake that leads victims to a replica site which takes payment and details but does not unlock the bike.

How do you avoid QR code scams?

  • Unknown sender? – Do not use the QR code
  • QR embedded in an email? – Do not use it to go to a website, it’s the same advice we give to not use links in an email, if you think the email is genuine go separately to your account and check to see if any actions are required
  • Has a new QR been stuck on? – Check to see whether a new QR has been stuck over an old one, if yes, DON’T USE!
  • Stay safe – Always use anti-virus software on your devices to stop you entering known risky sites
  • Contact – your bank or credit card company if you are worried about having given out financial details
  • ID Protection – If you’re worried about identity fraud and would like to protect your identity contact CIFAS
  • Still Unsure? – Join Reassura 0800 888 6400 and one of our fraud advisors will help you to stay safe
  • To report a fraud – and receive a police crime reference number call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online fraud reporting tool


QR codes are very useful and we all need to keep using them, but please remember the tips above and stay safe.