Scammers in some large Texas cities are putting fake QR codes on parking meters to trick people into paying fraudsters. Parking enforcement officers recently found stickers with fake QR codes at pay stations in Austin, Houston and San Antonio.
San Antonio Police warned the public about the scam on 20 December, saying that “people who attempt to pay for parking using those QR codes may be directed to a fraudulent website and deposit payment to a fraudulent vendor”. ” Similar scams were then found in Austin and Houston.
The Austin Department of Transportation “began investigating its own meters after the city of San Antonio was notified of a QR code scam in late December — when fraudulent codes were pasted at more than 100 pay stations,” Fox 7 Austin reported last week, Austin officials checked 900 or so parking pay stations in the city and found fake QR codes at 29 of them, According to a KXAN article,
The fake QR code allegedly led people to the “Quick Pay Parking” website, which is now offline. It is not clear how many people – if any – were tricked into paying fraudsters.
The City Doesn’t Use QR Codes—It’s Too Easy to Fake Them
“The reason we don’t use QR codes at all is because they’re easy to fake or place on equipment,” Austin Parking Division Manager Jason Redfern told KXAN. “And we’ve heard from industry leaders that that would be a possibility.” Austin accepts payments directly over the meter coins or credits Or with the Park ATX mobile payment app.
Austin city officials said Press release That they are “continuing to inspect the city’s more than 900 pay stations to ensure that no additional QR codes are in use.” Austin urged people to call 911 if they see someone tampering with a pay station without a city employee badge. “Any person who believes they were the victim of a credit card breach due to a recent parking meter payment should file a police report and notify their card issuer immediately,” the city also said.
Houston officials found five meters of fake QR codes and removed stickers, KPRC 2. According to, Like Austin, Houston does not use QR codes on parking meters, but does provide a payment app.
While this scam seems to be centered in Texas, it can be replicated anywhere. If you see a QR code on the parking meter, ignore it and make sure you pay directly to the city.