During the Super Bowl in February, one ad grabbed a lot of attention: a mysterious bouncing QR code that enticed viewers to point their phones at their screens and click through to an unknown website. (Spoiler alert: It was for Coinbase . ) Within seconds, more than 20 million people had done just that, crashing the cryptocurrency-exchange platform.
The incident illustrated just how willing people are to click on QR codes, but unfortunately for consumers, marketers aren’t the only group that understands this. Two months before, in December, a much darker scenario involving QR codes unfolded when malicious actors placed QR-code stickers on parking meters in major Texas cities, directing drivers to a fraudulent website where they supposedly could pay for parking.