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‘You have to be careful’: El Paso BBB tells how to avoid QR code scams

EL PASO, Texas -- QR codes have become useful tools, especially for local businesses hoping to provide contact-less ways of providing service, but now scammers are taking advantage of the digital tool.

The Better Business Bureau of El Paso said QR code scams have been increasing nationwide.

These scams may vary - but in most cases the BBB said once you open the link with your camera phone, it could take you to a phishing site asking for personal information.

"It's not always even just like your financial information or personal information, but it can be things like, what was your first pet's name, things like that, so that (these scammers are) creating these databases of information about you, and it helps them figure out how to identify your password," said Marybeth Stevens, president of Better Business Bureau Paso del Norte.

In other cases, the code could take you to a site that could initiate a payment interaction of some kind, others can download malware on your device.

"You just have to be careful," Stevens said.

QR codes are still very useful for people to use, but the BBB said it's important to be aware of these sites and to never type out your personal information unless you've verified with the person or business that you're working with.

"If you're in a restaurant, you know, the source, you're right there using it," Stevens said. "But if you see a QR code that looks like it's been manipulated or a sticker on top of a QR code or something like that, (those) are little signs that you should just take a second look and make sure it's from the source we're trying to work with."

To report a scam with the BBB you can click here.

You can also visit the BBB scam tracker, by clicking here, where you can see other reported scams across the Borderland.

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.

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