One thing the pandemic brought about was an increase in the amount of stores and restaurants using QR codes as a way to send and receive information to customers, from menus to payment. And like most things where money is involved, bad guys have found a way to use QR codes to steal finances and financial info. Experts are now warning consumers about scams that are going on with QR codes.
QR codes have actually helped prevent certain scams, since by scanning the code a user is sent directly to a website so there is no chance they mistype the link and wind up on a page that tries to phish information from them. However, the way con artists have gotten around this is by replacing legitimate QR codes with their own using stickers or other trickery.
Authorities in San Antonio recently stumbled upon one scam that saw fraudsters replacing the QR codes on public parking meters with ones that would send them money or personal financial data. When unsuspecting drivers use the QR code, thinking they are paying for parking, they are actually falling victim to the scam.
Since then, other cities have noticed similar scams, and the Better Business Bureau even issued a "scam alert" to warn people about the dangers of scanning QR codes. They've also given out tips on how to avoid getting scammed. Among their suggestions - if you are sent a QR code by a friend or see one on social media, confirm it's legit before scanning it, and never scan one sent by a stranger. You should also be mindful if a QR code has been tampered with or covered with a sticker that has another QR code on it. To be safe, you can also install a QR scanner with added security from an antivirus company.