BBB warns about different types of QR code scams

TULSA, Okla. — QR codes are everywhere, but scammers are taking advantage of them as they get more popular.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) said consumers and police departments around the country are reporting new ways QR codes are leading to scams. The scams occur most often when a QR code is posted in a public spot.

“So with a QR code, there’s really no way to tell if you’re going to the right website, if you’re clicking on something that you know where you’re going,” said Amie Mitchell with the BBB.

For example, Mitchell said the fraudulent QR codes are being put on the backs of parking meters. People assume they’re paying to park, but scammers printed their own stickers and covered up the real QR codes.

“You’re just clicking a link, but you’re clicking a link blindly, so we do recommend that you do that very, very, very cautiously,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell also said someone in Tulsa is out hundreds of dollars because of another type of QR code scam.

“We had a consumer that lost $1,600 here in Tulsa. They were putting a deposit down on a home. They put the deposit down and they lost their money because it was a scam,” Mitchell said. “Housing is one of those markets that’s very hot right now, so if you’re looking for a home, be very, very careful.”

Mitchell said to never put a deposit down through a QR code. Make contact with the individual.

“And make the transaction as legal as possible with paperwork, with a money trail,” she said.

Another QR code scam the BBB is seeing is fake utility bills. People are contacted by a scammer pretending to be their utility company, saying that they owe money. The scammer then says they must pay immediately and the regular payment portal is down, so they send a QR code to scan, to access an alleged backup portal.

The BBB says not to fall for it, because it’s a scam.

If you’ve been the victim of a QR code scam, report it, that could prevent another person from falling victim.