Newcastle City Council warning after drivers hit by QR code payment scam

Newcastle City Council says it does not use QR codes for payments and is urging drivers not to be caught out. Credit: ITV News

Drivers on Tyneside are being warned not to fall for a payment scam in car parks in central Newcastle.

Newcastle City Council says fake QR code signs have appeared in car parks to trick people into making payments.

Three incidents have been reported to the authority in the past fortnight, in which drivers had used their phone to scan the codes and seen payments of £60 taken.

They were reported at Dean Street, Morden Street and Blandford Square but the signs had been taken down by the time officers went to inspect them.

The council is moving towards a cashless charging system in the car parks, but says it is not using a QR code system.

Civic centre bosses said warnings signs have been installed at car park entrances and that CCTV footage is being monitored.

A spokesperson for Newcastle City Council said: “We are warning people not to use QR codes printed on any signs in our car parks to pay for their parking.

“The codes are not linked to any official payment website and are not used by the city council as a payment method.

“Unfortunately we have been made aware of a small number of instances where people have tried to use these codes, which has resulted in them being left out of pocket.

“Following each reported incident we have immediately gone to the car park in question to check for and remove any unofficial signage, however on each occasion we have found the signs to have already been removed.

“We have reported the matter to the police and we will continue to monitor all car parks and CCTV.

“Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of fraud should contact the police.”

The Dean Street, Morden Street and Blandford Square sites all still take cash payments for car parking.

A controversial move towards cashless payments, using either a bank card or the PayByPhone app, began last month at both Eldon Square and Eldon Garden multi-storey car parks.

Concerns were raised that the it would have a “disproportionate impact” on people with disabilities,  older people, those with limited internet access, and low-income households with greater reliance on physical money.

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