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Police warns the public of fraudulent QR codes on parking meters

By Roland Udvarlaki January 12, 2022, 10:30 am
parking meter qr code Source: Unsplash, Chris Robert

Criminals are always looking for new ways to steal from people, and we recently shared that AirTags are reportedly being used to track down high-value vehicles, which can then be stolen straight from the owner’s driveway. According to a new report, QR codes are also stuck to parking meters that redirect unsuspecting people to fraudulent sites, where they capture confident card details, and some also make people pay for “parking”.

Police in many US cities are reporting such QR code tactics, and are now warning the residents not to pay for their parking using QR codes. Austin and San Antonio issued such warnings to their residents, and the police says it has discovered a number of stickers on parking meters that redirected unsuspecting users to fraudulent and scamming websites. Some of the websites promised, “quick pay parking” (via TheVerge).

Police are advising anyone who has already entered their card details to contact their banks to reverse any payments, and change details to prevent fraud. The Austin Police Department also posted an image on Twitter, advising people against using QR codes to make parking payments.

QR codes have quickly become a massive part of our lives during the past 18-months, and it’s now used for everything from scanning in for an appointment, to quickly getting information and links, and so much more. Google is also developing a new feature that will allow users to scan QR codes straight from their lock screen, and it will also add a Quick Settings tile to provide easier access to scanning codes while on-the-go.

The best way to protect yourself from such fraudulent activities is by using dedicated parking applications, paying by coins or cash, or double-checking QR codes, whether they redirect you to an official website. It’s always important to look out for such methods, as these could appear anywhere, not just on parking meters. If you’re ever in doubt, make sure to double-check, and never enter confidential information.

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