The bitcoin price, after its epic 2017 bull run, slumped last year–though has rebounded in 2019, climbing back above $10,000 per bitcoin.
Now, researchers have warned a staggering four out of the first five results returned when asking Google for a “bitcoin qr generator” led to scam websites–potentially furthering negative public perception around bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
If a user of one of these scam sites tries to generate a QR code for their own bitcoin address, it will create a QR code for the scammer’s wallet, researchers from ZenGo, a bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallet provider, found.
QR codes are often used to share data via a smartphones’ camera and are commonly used to quickly share a bitcoin or cryptocurrency wallet address.
“These sites generate a QR code that encodes an address controlled by the scammers, instead of the one requested by the user, thus directing all payments for this QR code to the scammers,” ZenGo’s Tal Be’ery wrote in a blog post.
“Scammers do not even bother with generating their fake QR themselves, instead they shamelessly call a blockchain explorer API to generate the QR for their address.”
Researchers calculated that some $20,000 had recently been lost to QR code scams, calling their findings “just the tip of the iceberg,” as thieves likely regularly change their bitcoin and crypto addresses to avoid…
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