Microsoft Xbox warn users about scanning QR code fraud

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QR codes have become ubiquitous in our daily lives. It is on various platforms like flyers, 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, leading to potential identity theft and financial loss. Microsoft Xbox has recently highlighted the risks associated with scanning QR codes, shedding light on the prevalence of scams and fraudulent activities linked to this technology. The company issued the official announcement today stressing the fraudulent behaviour of “scanning QR codes to steal”. Microsoft reminds players not to believe false propaganda such as “scan QR codes to pay to obtain related products at low prices”. It is also calling on the public to beware of fraudsters.

QR code scams

How the QR code fraud works

Microsoft noted that it has received complaints from gamers from different parts of China. Upon investigation, it found that some criminals use social media such as Xiaohongshu to publish “low prices/benefits/cash back”. They also publish other promotional content, inducing users to join WeChat/QQ groups and scan QR codes to pay for low prices. These fraudulent activities were done to defraud gamers and obtain Xbox-related products.

The company said in its announcement

Microsoft China has always strictly abided by local laws and regulations and is committed to protecting the rights and interests of consumers. We do not tolerate any illegal behaviour. 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 announcement to better protect your rights and ensure your safe shopping experience on Microsoft platforms and third-party e-commerce/trading platforms:

Microsoft China will never guide users to join any WeChat/QQ groups , and require users to perform abnormal payment processes such as online scan QR code payment. All transactions conducted by users through Microsoft will be conducted through the normal payment process provided by the e-commerce/trading platform.

Consumers are advised to note that abnormal payment processes, including but not limited to adding customer service WeChat/QQ, scanning QR codes, and offline transactions, are all at risk of being deceived. Please make careful judgments: be vigilant when encountering QR codes from unknown sources. Pay attention to identification. QR codes of unknown origin may contain illegal URL links such as virus links and phishing websites. After scanning, personal information may be leaked and cause economic losses…

We are committed to strengthening supervision as always to ensure a safe and reliable consumption experience for consumers.

Thank you all for your understanding and support!

The company advise gamers to be vigilant when granting requests and not to give out large personal information. Microsoft warns that such information will likely be sold to the highest bidder.

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Common QR Code Scams

1. Phishing Emails: Scammers often use phishing emails containing QR codes. They use this to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information like credit card details. By posing as reputable entities, these cybercriminals lure victims into scanning the QR code. This will redirect them to fake websites where personal data is harvested.

2. Contactless Payment Scams: While legitimate businesses use QR codes for contactless payments, scammers have exploited this technology by placing fraudulent QR codes in public spaces. For instance, criminals have set up fake parking payment systems through QR codes, deceiving individuals 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 like credit card numbers under the guise of order verification or returns processing.

4. Cryptocurrency Theft: Scammers leverage QR codes for cryptocurrency transactions, enticing victims with fake giveaways or investment opportunities that result in the loss of cryptocurrency without any returns.

Ensuring Safety While Using QR Codes

To mitigate the risks of scanning QR codes, individuals have to take precautionary measures. Some of the measures are

  • Use trusted QR code generators when creating QR codes.
  • Avoid sharing personal information on websites accessed through QR code shortcuts unless the source is verified.
  • Verify the legitimacy of a website before scanning a QR code by checking for suspicious elements like 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 crucial to refrain from clicking on any links or scanning the provided QR code. Instead, users should report such incidents to relevant authorities or block the sender to prevent further fraudulent attempts.


In conclusion, the prevalence of QR code scams underscores the importance of vigilance and caution when interacting with this ubiquitous technology. As illustrated by Microsoft Xbox’s recent announcement, cybercriminals exploit QR codes through various fraudulent schemes. These pose risks of identity theft and financial loss to unsuspecting individuals.

To safeguard against QR code scams, users must exercise diligence and adopt preventive 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.

Furthermore, individuals should remain alert to common QR code scams, such as phishing emails, contactless payment fraud, package delivery scams, and cryptocurrency theft. By staying informed and discerning, users can protect themselves from falling victim to these malicious tactics.

Ultimately, fostering awareness about QR code security and promoting responsible usage is essential for creating a safer digital environment. By taking proactive steps and reporting suspicious activity, users can contribute to combating QR code fraud and preserving the integrity of online transactions.

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