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Taxi drivers and other motorists warned of QR Code parking scams



In response to a surge in QR code phishing scams, particularly in public areas like car parks, tech experts have issued crucial advice to help motorists avoid falling prey to these deceptive tactics.


Avoid Public QR Code Payments


Public QR codes are particularly vulnerable to tampering. Scammers often overlay fraudulent codes on top of legitimate ones. Always inspect a QR code closely for signs of tampering, such as stickers placed over the original code. If in doubt, avoid using the code and opt for alternative payment methods, such as manually entering the URL.

Beware of QR Codes in Unsolicited Emails


Email inboxes are common targets for phishing attempts. While email services filter out many threats, they may not recognise malicious QR codes. Avoid scanning QR codes from unsolicited emails, even if they appear to be from trusted sources like Amazon. Verify the sender’s authenticity before taking any action.


Check QR Code Destinations Carefully


When scanning a QR code, your phone will display the destination URL. Examine this URL for legitimacy. Be wary of extended domain names and suspicious symbols, even if they include familiar names like 'Google'. If you land on a questionable site, look for signs such as poor design, low-resolution images, and grammatical errors, which can indicate a fraudulent website.


Do Not Succumb to Curiosity


Scammers often lure victims with promises of rewards or enticing offers. Be extremely cautious of QR codes promising prizes, surveys, or free goods and services. These tactics are designed to bypass your suspicions. Always scrutinise unsolicited QR codes, regardless of how they are delivered.

Avoid Unnecessary QR Code Apps


Your phone’s camera can scan QR codes without the need for additional apps. Downloading unnecessary QR code apps can expose you to malware and other security risks. Stick to using your phone's default camera for QR scanning.


Marc Porcar, CEO of QR Code Generator, said: “QR codes are an incredibly useful invention, but their relative novelty means that scammers are only recently coming around to exploiting them for malicious intentions.”


“With the increasing prevalence of the QR code parking payment scam, it’s certainly something to look out for. The incoming summer months are likely to flood car parks in tourist areas, and near to attractions, so this is something scammers may look to capitalise on. Finding parking can be stressful, but it’s more stressful being scammed for money, so be on the lookout and utilise these tips.”

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