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Scanning QR codes: you need to know this to prevent scams

People are being scammed by scanning QR codes

We increasingly hear that people are being scammed by scanning QR codes. This new form of fraud makes it very easy for criminals to wreak havoc on bank accounts. We’ve listed everything you need to know about QR codes and how to prevent scams.

This is all you need to know about scanning QR codes with your phone. 

What is a QR Code?

QR code is an abbreviation for “Quick Response Code.” This code is displayed as a barcode that you can scan with your phone. Once scanned, you will be automatically redirected to a website. This way of scanning makes it much easier for users of smartphones to visit websites, since they don’t have to look up or type anything into a web browser. One popular use is for entrance tickets to events, but it can also display information about many things, including works of art in museums. Payments through iDeal can also be made via the code. And this last one is precisely the reason why the scanning of some QR codes can put you in danger.

On the next page, read how people are scammed using QR codes, as well as tips on what you can do in these situations.

Scams through QR codes

QR codes are no longer only used online to scam people. People can also approach you on the street and ask if you want to scan a QR code. Some might ask you to transfer money for the parking meter via a QR code because the scammer does not have cash with him. Some who have been scammed so far have been promised five euros in cash in exchange for scanning the QR code. Unfortunately, without knowing it, these people ended up on a phishing site where the scammer could retrieve bank details. This type of scamming also occurs on Marktplaats by means of the “cent trick.” You can read more about this here.


Now, for the most important part: how do you prevent being scammed by fraudulent QR codes? Always be on your guard when it comes to transferring money through online payment requests or by scanning QR codes. Don’t have a good feeling about it? Then do not scan the QR code. Instead, transfer the payment yourself via the app from your own bank. There are a number of other things to look out for when it comes to QR code fraud:

  • Always take a good look at the URL/hyperlink of payment requests. Does this match the link in the actual URL of the payment service? If so, then the chance of that being a scam is small.
  • Reliability does not have to be proven to the seller, so you should never have to scan a QR code to prove that your personal information and account number are correct.
  • The seller does not need any other information from you—no photo or copy of your ID or driver’s license.
  • When in doubt, always contact your bank to inquire about the situation.
  • Is it too late and you suspect that you have been the victim of fraud? Contact your bank immediately and report this to the police. They can see what else can be done for you.

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