A scammer has stolen more than $45,000 worth of bitcoin over the past month by tricking people with fake QR code generators discovered running on a number of different websites.

Bitcoin addresses are often converted into unique, scannable QR codes so users don’t have to type out the entire address in order to send a payment and there are many legitimate websites that offer this service but the scam sites discovered wouldn’t actually generate a new QR code. Instead, the site would display the same QR code which pointed to the scammer’s wallet and anyone who was duped by this scam would share this code thinking it pointed to their own wallet, but all payments would go to the scammer.

A very simple scam and it’s a technique that is growing in popularity. Unlike a URL or a Bitcoin address, a QR code can’t be scrutinised for typos, so users need to confirm that the services they use to generate these codes are trustworthy.

It’s also worth mentioning that the servers hosting these websites were hosting more than 450 additional sites containing various types of scams, primarily ads for fraudulent cryptocurrency gambling sites. The scammer also appears to have made approximately $117,000 through scam websites that promised to speed up the approval process for a Bitcoin transaction in exchange for a fee.

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