Home Money Rise in QR scammers exploiting cashless parking

Rise in QR scammers exploiting cashless parking

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Cheeky: Scammers have stuck a printed QR code on a parking sign - and if you're in a hurry, you might get caught

Cheeky: Scammers have stuck a printed QR code on a parking sign – and if you’re in a hurry, you might get caught

Criminals are using sneaky tactics to scam unsuspecting drivers by pasting their own QR codes over legitimate ones on parking meters to steal card details.

Drivers unknowingly scan the code provided and think they are paying for their parking online, but by doing so they expose themselves to serious financial losses.

In a recent scam case, Barking and Dagenham Council identified multiple parking signs and meters covered with fake QR codes directing users to a fake website.

While the codes in question may seem unconvincing to the knowing eye, the above cases are executed much more cleverly, blending seamlessly with the signs to which they are attached.

Barking and Dagenham Council said it is working to remove the offending QR codes and identify the perpetrators of the scam.

However, as soon as councils and local authorities can remove these fake codes, scammers can replace them or target new car parks.

And, as an increasing number of car parks continue to push cashless payments through apps and websites, car park users become more vulnerable to these scams.

This is especially the case for those who are less tech-savvy and smartphone-savvy.

This not only means that victims will make payments to scammers, but they may also be fined by parking enforcement companies for not legitimately paying for parking.

Since drivers are often in a hurry when parking, many may not realize that they have been victims of a scam and face parking tickets as a result.

When scanned, the QR code displayed by scammers directs drivers to websites that are almost identical to those operated by legitimate parking providers, with only minor differences providing clues to their fraudulent nature.

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Paybyphone official website has a simpler mobile interface
Link buttons on fake website don't seem to work

Spot the difference: Legit Paybyphone website (left) looks remarkably similar to the one created by scammers

However, even when comparing the two side by side, it’s hard to tell the difference.

To ensure they avoid these scams, drivers can use the Paybyphone app or search for the website online themselves and enter the location code into the meter.

If in doubt, customers can also use cash and card counters where available.

This is Money has contacted Paybyphone for comment.

Have you been a victim of a QR code scam? Get in touch: editor@thisismoney.co.uk

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