As if we didn’t already have enough things to be wary of: spam phone callers, phishing emails, and now fake QR codes are coming for your wallet.
It’s a trend that’s recently caught on overseas, where reports from Texas indicate phony QR codes have been placed on parking meters to catch unaware folks out and take their money.
The San Antonio Police Department pointed out the scam in late December last year, mentioning “people attempting to pay for parking using those QR codes may have been directed to a fraudulent website and submitted payment to a fraudulent vendor”.
By scanning a code, users were directed to a no longer active site titled “Quick Pay Parking”, complete with a payment portal.
What’s even sneakier is that many of the Texan locations affected by fake QR codes don’t even use the technology for parking payments, meaning the perpetrators are preying on anyone who doesn’t know it’s not an official method of authenticating a car park.
With QR codes back in vogue due to their widespread use for contact tracing during the pandemic, it’s a bloody devious scheme.
It serves as a timely reminder to always double-check where a code is taking you before inputting any sensitive information such as passwords or payment information. While these reports are from overseas, there’s no guarantee it’s not happening here, too.
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Chris is an award-nominated writer based in Adelaide who specialises in covering video games and technology. He loves Donkey Kong Country, sport, and cats. The Last Jedi is the best one, no questions asked.