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How to stay safe from QR Code fraud

How to stay safe from QR Code fraud?

In today’s digital age, QR codes have become the quintessential tool for accessing information and making transactions. They are swift, efficient, and user-friendly, bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds. However, as technology progresses, so do the methods of those with malicious intent. QR code fraud has emerged as a worrying trend. 

With stories of fraud QR code scams and unsuspecting victims of OLX QR code scams, it’s essential to be informed and vigilant. This article delves into the intricacies of QR code scams, offering guidance on keeping your transactions safe.

How Does QR Code Fraud Work?

Imagine you’re selling a product online. You receive a message from a potential buyer who wants to pay via a QR code. He sends over a ‘fake QR code payment’ link and asks you to scan it to receive the payment. However, upon scanning, you inadvertently pay the scammer instead. This, in essence, is the ‘OLX QR code scam’, one of the many ‘QR scams’ that have been plaguing unsuspecting users.

Another typical scenario involves replacing genuine QR codes in public places, like posters or restaurants, with fake ones. When scanned, these might lead to malicious websites, phishing for your personal data, or even installing malware on your device.

Related read: How to generate a new QR code online?

Things You Need to Remember to Stay Safe from Frauds

  • Verify Before Scanning

Before scanning any QR code, especially for payments, verify its authenticity. If it’s coming from a person, ensure you trust them. If it’s in a public place, check if it looks tampered or out of place.

  • Beware of Unknown Sources

Just as you wouldn’t click on suspicious links in emails, treat QR codes with the same caution. ‘Beware of QR code scams’ is not just a catchphrase; it’s sage advice. If you’re unsure about the source, avoid scanning it.

  • Confirm Transaction Details

When making payments, always check the payment details after scanning but before finalising the transaction. Scammers might try to dupe you by asking you to ‘confirm’ the payment, which is you sending them money.

  • Use a Trusted QR Code, Readers

Not all QR code scanning apps are created equal. Some come with security features that can detect malicious links. Always use trusted and well-reviewed apps. The Airtel Thanks app is one such app you can use for scanning QR codes. The scan QR code feature can be used for online payments, merchant payments, etc. 

  • Regularly Update Your Software

Ensure your phone’s operating system and apps are updated. Software updates often include security patches against known vulnerabilities.

  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Enable 2FA wherever possible, especially on banking and payment apps. This adds an extra layer of security, ensuring that even if a scammer gains access to your account, they can’t complete a transaction without a second verification.

  • Educate Yourself on Common Scams

Familiarise yourself with prevalent scams like the ‘OLX QR code scam’. The more you know about these tactics, the easier it is to spot and avoid them.

  • Report Suspicious QR Codes

If you come across or fall victim to a ‘QR code scam’, report it. It might prevent someone else from falling for the same scam.


The age of digitalisation has ushered in countless conveniences. But just as you wouldn’t leave your home’s front door open, it’s vital to ensure that your digital doorways are also secure. QR codes, though a groundbreaking tool, are not immune to fraudulent activities. By adopting a vigilant approach and remembering to stay ‘beware of QR code scams’, you can ensure your digital interactions remain safe and beneficial. Remember, a little caution goes a long way. 

So, the next time you’re about to scan that seemingly innocuous square, think twice, use a safe app like Airtel Thanks to scan and act wisely to avoid becoming a victim of QR code payment fraud.

Also read: What is QR code and how does it work?