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Before you scan that QR code...

The BBB is warning folks about fake QR code stickers being placed over parking meters, restaurant menus, and more.
Credit: MargJohnsonVA - stock.adobe.com

GREENSBORO, N.C. — 2WTK asked the Better Business Bureau what scams they're seeing lately around the nation. Lechelle Yates from the BBB serving Center and Northwest North Carolina joined us to talk about the scams and to answer questions from viewers.

QR codes are everywhere, but hidden in those squiggly lines are scams.

"QR codes are convenient for us. Even if you think you don't know what they are, you've seen. They're those bar codes with black and white square lines. You use your phone's camera to scan them, then a website opens on your phone. It could be a list of TV channels when you're staying in a hotel. It could be a coupon. It could be the restaurant's menu," said Lechelle Yates for the BBB. 

Look for fake QR codes on parking meters, restaurant menus, and impersonation letters.

Protect yourself from QR code scams

• Stay on guard

• Check for tampering-- see if there is a sticker QR code that is on top of the real code 

• Check website URL

• Download QR code app

Fake texts from companies.

You're probably familiar with the texts that claim to be from Amazon saying you made a big purchase. If you didn't, click a link or call. Now scammers are hoping to trick you by using a new company.

"This one hits close to home. My mom hands me her phone and says I think I got a scam text," said Yates. 

Fake app store purchase text messages usually want you to put in your username and password to "check" the status. They're looking to get your account info and your credit card info. 

Protect yourself

• Go to the App or your online account directly, don't click their link

• Check on your orders 

BBB Scamtracker has gotten numerous reports about this clever travel scam that will leave you out of money and a place to stay.

The way the scam works is you search or find a vacation site on social media. The owner of the property tells you that they can cut you a deal if you book with them directly and not through the vacation site. Usually, they ask you to pay by Venmo or Cash App (BTW, these apps don't work like your bank and once your money is gone, there is no getting it back). 

How to protect yourself

• Always pay through the platform

• Always pay with credit card

Brushing scams are still around.

During the pandemic, many people got random "gifts" in the mail from online shopping platforms. Years later, the BBB is still getting notices of similar occurrences. The unexpected items are part of a brushing scam that benefits the senders. The person behind the delivery could be leaving fake customer reviews online and possibly selling shoppers' personal information.

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