Trading Standards are warning residents of an emerging scam involving phony QR codes.

QR codes are a series of dots within a small square, which are often used in advertising, at car park pay & display machines, charging points and even restaurant menus. When the QR code is scanned with a mobile phone or device, it will take you to a website.

However, it has emerged that scammers are now using the opportunity to stick their own QR codes over original codes to trick you into scanning a phony QR code.

Once scanned you will be diverted to a fraudulent website, where you will inadvertently enter your details thinking you’re paying for a service or visiting a genuine website, when in fact, you are paying your money to or sharing your details with scammers.

Before using a QR code in a public area, always check to see whether it appears to have been stuck over another code. If the sign or notice is laminated and the QR code is under the lamination or part of the original print, it is more likely to be genuine.

If you have any doubts, download the app in question from the official Google or Apple store, or search the website on your device’s internet browser, instead of scanning the QR code to take you there. It may take longer, but it will be more secure!

If you suspect something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and don’t share your information or bank details.

If you ever experience or suspect a possible scam, you can report it to us by calling 0808 223 1133