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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Consumers Awareness is Key for Avoiding Spammy QR Codes

I suppose it was only a matter of time before spammers figured out a way to use QR codes for their own purposes. Some savvy researchers at Websense have found spam that contains links to a site featuring QR codes.

QR codes can be thought of as a variation on the barcode. The benefit to companies using them is that they can store much more information than a standard barcode can, which makes them very useful for marketing purposes. A customer can use his or her smart phone to scan the QR code and be taken immediately to a website, a Facebook page, coupon, or a video.

This is a great way to engage with buyers and offer them more information about products that might interest them. It also encourages them to buy more products from the same company. The problem that I see with QR codes is that the person scanning them has no idea what information the client received until after they have completed the process.

Consumers also need to be aware that security consultants are pointing out that QR codes have the potential to be used for malware, and that this is already happening. As always, with matters to do with using computer technology, consumers need to be very careful about what they are scanning and looking at. Most QR codes are perfectly legitimate, but we can expect to see more instances involving spam over time.