QR codes have become ubiquitous in our daily lives. It is on various platforms such as leaflets, billboards and emails. However, not all QR codes are safe to scan. Cybercriminals have devised numerous scams to exploit unsuspecting individuals who scan these codes, resulting in potential identity theft and financial loss. Microsoft Xbox recently highlighted the risks associated with scanning QR codes, shedding light on the prevalence of scams and fraudulent activities associated with this technology. The company issued an official announcement today highlighting the fraudulent behavior of “scanning QR codes for theft”. Microsoft reminds players not to believe false propaganda such as “scan QR codes to pay to get related products at low prices.” He also urges the public to beware of scammers.

How the QR code scam works

Microsoft noted that it has received complaints from gamers in various parts of China. On investigation it was found that some criminals use social media like Xiaohongshu to post “low prices/benefits/cashback”. They also post other promotional contentprompting users to join WeChat/QQ groups and scan QR codes to pay at low prices. These fraudulent activities were carried out to trick gamers into obtaining Xbox-related products.

This is what the company’s announcement says

Microsoft China has always strictly followed local laws and regulations and is committed to protecting the rights and interests of users. We do not tolerate any illegal behavior. Your trust is important to us and we will always be committed to providing you with legal, safe and reliable services. We hereby issue the following notice to better protect your rights and ensure your safe shopping experience on Microsoft and third-party e-commerce/commerce platforms:

Microsoft China will never guide users to join WeChat/QQ groups and require users to perform unusual payment processes, such as paying with a QR code for online scanning. All transactions made by users through Microsoft will be done through the normal payment process provided by the e-commerce/commerce platform.

Users are advised to note that unusual payment processes, including but not limited to adding WeChat/QQ customer service, scanning QR codes and offline transactions, are at risk of fraud. Please use caution: be vigilant when encountering QR codes from unknown sources. Pay attention to the identification. QR codes of unknown origin may contain illegal URL links such as links to viruses and phishing websites. After scanning, personal information may be leaked and cause economic losses…

We are committed to strengthening oversight as always to ensure a safe and reliable user experience for users.

Thank you all for your understanding and support!

The company advises gamers to be vigilant when completing requests and not to give out much personal information. Microsoft warns that such information is likely to be sold to the highest bidder.

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Common QR Code Scams

1. Phishing emails: Fraudsters often use phishing emails containing QR codes. They use this to trick people into revealing sensitive information like credit card details. Posing as reputable organizations, these cybercriminals lure victims into scanning the QR code. This will redirect them to fake websites where personal data is collected.

2. Contactless fraud: While legitimate businesses use QR codes for contactless payments, fraudsters take advantage of this technology by placing fraudulent QR codes in public places. For example, criminals have created fake parking payment systems using QR codes, tricking people into making payments to unauthorized websites.

3. Package delivery scams: In another scheme, criminals send unsolicited packages containing QR codes that lead recipients to malicious websites, prompting them to enter personal information such as credit card numbers under the guise of verifying an order or processing returns.

4. Cryptocurrency Theft: Fraudsters use QR codes for cryptocurrency transactions, luring victims with fake giveaways or investment opportunities that result in loss of cryptocurrency with no return.

Ensuring safety when using QR codes

To reduce the risks of scanning QR codes, people should take precautions. Some of the measures are

  • Use trusted QR code generators when creating QR codes.
  • Avoid sharing personal information on websites accessible via QR code shortcuts unless the source has been verified.
  • Verify the legitimacy of a website before scanning a QR code by checking for suspicious elements such as misspellings or incorrect logos.

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Reporting suspicious activity

In cases where individuals receive suspicious emails containing QR codes or encounter potential scams, it is extremely important that they refrain from clicking on links or scanning the provided QR code. Instead, users should report such incidents to the appropriate authorities or block the sender to prevent further fraud attempts.


In conclusion, the proliferation of QR code scams highlights the importance of vigilance and caution when interacting with this ubiquitous technology. As illustrated by Microsoft’s recent Xbox announcement, cybercriminals are using QR codes through a variety of fraudulent schemes. They create risks of identity theft and financial loss for unsuspecting individuals.

To protect themselves from QR code scams, users should be cautious and take preventative measures. This includes using trusted QR code generators, verifying the legitimacy of websites before scanning QR codes, and refraining from sharing personal information through unverified sources.

Additionally, people should be on the lookout for common QR code scams such as phishing emails, contactless payment scams, package delivery scams, and cryptocurrency theft. By staying informed and discerning, users can protect themselves from falling victim to these malicious tactics.

Ultimately, promoting awareness of QR code security and encouraging responsible use is essential to creating a safer digital environment. By taking proactive steps and reporting suspicious activity, users can help fight QR code fraud and preserve the integrity of online transactions.

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Microsoft Xbox warn users about scanning QR code fraud