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Fraud & Scam Awareness

Unfortunately, more and more Americans have their identities stolen every year.  We strive to provide our members with information that may be helpful in preventing, detecting, and protecting against identity theft and other internet, mail, and telephone scams. Emerald Credit Union will never request personal information about our members by email or text messaging.  Personal information includes account numbers, passwords, personal identification information, or any other confidential information.

QR Code Phishing Scams

A QR code (quick response code) is a two-dimensional, matrix barcode that points to a website or application. Applications include product tracking, item identification, document management, and general marketing. Typically, consumers use a smartphone camera as a QR code scanner, alleviating the need to type a URL it into a web browser. 

Unfortunately, fraudsters are now using QR technology to steal personally identifiable information, credit card details, and other financial information from mobile devices. Criminals have been known to replace the QR codes of reputable companies by placing a sticker on top of publicly displayed business posters, brochures, and other advertisements. This type of QR code phishing is dangerous because the consumer thinks the code belongs to a trustworthy company, never thinking twice that they could be directed to a possibly malicious site. Within a matter of minutes from when the fake QR code is scanned, malware in installed on that device, and personal data is transferred to the thief.

Just as you should never click on suspicious hyperlinks or download questionable attachments, avoid QR codes that may be fuzzy-looking, blurry, or contain misspellings. Be aware of strange-looking websites offering deeply discounted items or countdown clocks. These may appear safe, but they are nothing but trouble. 

Here are some additional steps to help protect your personal information:

  • If a friend or family member sends you a QR code, reach out to them directly to make sure they did send it.
  • Do not open links or scan QR codes sent by strangers, and double-check the URL before opening the link.
  • Verify the source that sent you the QR code by comparing the link to their official website. In some cases the URL may be off by just one letter or word. 
  • There are QR scanner apps that incorporate added security on your device, like a firewall to identify scams before you open them.