The QR code scam leaving victims thousands out of pocket

Action Fraud has investigated over 400 QR code scams this year  (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Action Fraud has investigated over 400 QR code scams this year (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A woman has been left thousands of pounds out of pocket as part of a new QR code scam that is sweeping the country.

The number of QR code scams in the UK has soared, with over 400 reported this year and 1,200 investigated by Action Fraud since 2020.

In a recent scam, fraudsters covered a genuine QR code with a fake one in Thornaby Station’s car park, Teeside.

The QR code took one 71-year-old victim to a fake website, allowing scammers to find out her payment and card information.

The victim’s bank blocked a string of fraudulent transactions, but the scammers called her impersonating the bank and persuaded her they were real to get more information.

With the extra details, they changed the victim’s address on her bank records and created a new online account.

They then racked up £13,000 in debt under her name, including a £7,500 loan and multiple credit cards, the BBC reports.

TransPennine Express, which runs the station and more than 100 others, has decided to remove all QR codes from its car parks following similar scams across the country.

Speaking to BBC, the victim, who asked to remain anonymous, described the ordeal as a “logistical nightmare” as she is still waiting for her credit card to be unfrozen.

She said: “I can’t believe I fell for it. I’ve had so many sleepless nights and spent hours and hours speaking to my bank and credit card company trying to sort it all.

“I was locked out of my accounts. Luckily I had another credit card to survive on, but without that and help from my son, I don’t know how I would have coped.”

VirginMoney said that all of the transactions had since been refunded and the loan cancelled. It said they have taken steps to protect the woman’s account in the future.