NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Scammers are using popular QR codes to steal your information.

QR codes have popped up everywhere during the pandemic. It’s a safe way to look at menus or get information on a business.

The Better Business Bureau is now issuing warning to consumers about phishing schemes aimed at stealing your private information through these codes.

The BBB says if you get a QR code via email, or if the code appears to have been tampered with or taped over, be cautious.

It is likely the suspicious code will direct you to a fraudulent website.

Cybersecurity experts advise everyone to pay attention and be observant before scanning QR codes and use the same approach one would to a strange email.

The best way to avoid a malicious QR code? Simply go to the website of the business or restaurant you’re interested in and bypass scanning the code altogether.

The BBB also outlined these tips on how to avoid the QR code scams:

  • If someone you know sends you a QR code, confirm before scanning it. Whether you receive a text message from a friend or a message on social media from your workmate, contact that person directly before you scan the QR code to make sure they haven’t been hacked.
  • Don’t open links from strangers. If you receive an unsolicited message from a stranger, don’t scan the QR code, even if they promise you exciting gifts or investment opportunities.
  • Verify the source. If a QR code appears to come from a reputable source, it’s wise to double check. If the correspondence appears to come from a government agency, call or visit their official website to confirm.
  • Be wary of short links. If a URL-shortened link appears when you scan a QR code, understand that you can’t know where the code is directing you. It could be hiding a malicious URL.
  • Watch out for advertising materials that have been tampered with. Some scammers attempt to mislead consumers by altering legitimate business ads by placing stickers or the QR code. Keep an eye out for signs of tampering.
  • Install a QR scanner with added security. Some antivirus companies have QR scanner apps that check the safety of a scanned link before you open it. They can identify phishing scams, forced app downloads, and other dangerous links.

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