Security experts warn against scanning QR codes with your smart device – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — QR codes are those black-and-white boxes you pull, your phone interprets, and then everything from menus to offers pops up directly on your device over the internet.

Businesses share them on social media, signs and flyers.

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But security experts advise thinking twice before scanning one with your smart device.

“It’s cool tech and that means they’re subject to abuse, like all cool tech, right?” said Tim Helming, a computer security expert at DomainTools.

Helming says the crooks are in the game now, turning those codes into your misery.

“They might be making a fraudulent payment, they might be downloading malware to your phone,” he said.

The other issue at stake is that a person can check a web address to see if it is legitimate.

A QR code does not give consumers that chance.

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“You have fewer ways to validate what you’re about to achieve than if it’s an actual link,” Helming says.

The Better Business Bureau’s scam tracker shows someone lost $65,000 in a scam using QR codes.

They are easy to obtain. CBS reporter Jesse Jones found a number of sites that offer QR codes for free.

Just enter the website you want the code to send people to and you are good to go.

Helming says consumers need to consider the source before pointing and clicking.

“If I saw a QR code that was slapped on a phone survey, on the side of the building, or something like that, I don’t care about the temptation of the offer, I’m running from that thing,” Helming said. . .

Scammers often send QR codes in emails that appear to be from legitimate companies, so experts say don’t use them unless you can verify the source.

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There are scanner apps available that include additional security that can help ensure that the code you see is the real deal.

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