Forged QR code at kids’ gym leads to porn site

Forged QR Code - Kids Playing in Park

Parents were alarmed to discover a spoofed quick response code near an elementary school.

Canadian parents were shocked to discover a forged QR code at an outdoor gym located near an elementary school. The Edmonton mother decided to use her smartphone to learn more about how to use the gym’s features.

The park provides users with signage to guide users through the safe use of its equipment.

That said, one of the signs featured at the Norwell Outdoor Fitness Park showed a quick response code. The retail provider for that outdoor gym is now facing serious criticism due to the forged QR code, reported CTV Edmonton. Not only did the barcode not direct users to information about the gym, but it sent them to a porn site.

The parent who discovered the scam QR code, Kathy Meyer, hoped to use the barcode to learn more about the outdoor gym. Her kids were playing nearby in the space located adjacent to St. Martha Catholic Elementary School. The sign on which the quick response code was displayed provided a number of diagrams and directions regarding the use of the equipment.

The forged QR code suggested that it would provide further information regarding the equipment’s use.

As QR codes become increasingly popular for sharing information, so have scams. China has been particularly prone to these types of scam QR codes since the barcodes are highly popular there, as was the case last year when QR Code Press reported on a bike rental scam.

“So I scanned [it,] and big surprise: it was a pornographic website,” said Meyer. “I checked it again and was like, definitely, the QR code is going to the wrong place.” The sign at the park also provided the official website of the manufacturer of the equipment and the sign itself. Forged QR Code - Kids Playing in ParkWhen entered manually into a mobile browser, that site directs to a domain that is different and yet quite similar to the porn site.

It seems that the forged QR code was actually once legitimate. Norwell Outdoor Fitness did indeed originally own the domain associated with the barcode. However, they either allowed that domain to expire or they sold it. On April 5, 2018, The porn site picked it up. Norwell Outdoor Fitness had not yet updated its QR codes.

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