BBB warns of fake QR codes: Metro Atlanta residents report finding in parking garages

As if finding parking around metro Atlanta wasn’t hard enough, officials with the Better Business Bureau are warning consumers to watch out for fake QR codes some metro Atlanta residents said they’ve spotted in parking garages around the city.

Videos posted to social media show people spotting fake codes placed over real ones. BBB spokesperson Simone Williams said it’s all in an effort to try to steal people’s personal information.

"What we’re seeing is that criminals can actually create QR codes online and what they’re doing is printing and putting them on stickers," she told Fox 5. 

Williams said all it takes is clicking one wrong link and scammers can gain access to a person’s personal or financial information.

"So, when a person comes thinking they’re going to pay for parking, they’re actually going to a phishing website," she explained.

She told FOX 5 there are a few ways you can protect yourself, ranging from apps to detect a fake, to just touching the code to see if it’s a sticker.

"Touch the QR code, see if it’s been tampered with, see if there’s another QR code on the bottom," she said. "Some antivirus companies have QR scanner apps that can check the safety of the scan link before you even open it. So, it can identify phishing scams, forced app downloads or any other dangerous links."

Another good practice is checking that the link you’re opening is secure. 

"Does that URL have the https, with the extras for secure, and that it has a lock icon on that URL?" she added.

Williams said if you do find a fake QR code, reporting it on the Better Business Bureau’s scam tracker as a way to alert other consumers. It’s also recommended residents notify local law enforcement.