Motorist caught out by scam QR code in Somerset car park

A fraudulent QR code in a car park in West Somerset almost cost a motorist £60. A motorist noticed the QR code at Swain Street car park in Watchet when they visited during the recent Bank Holiday weekend.

The motorist shared on social media how they scanned the QR code on the parking sign which then reportedly signed them up for a £60 monthly subscription to Entaria Health. After realising the QR code was a scam, they contacted their bank and was refunded the money.

The fraudulent QR code comes as part of a rise in related scams in car parks and at electric vehicle chargers, with many drivers falling victim to them. The QR code was reported to Somerset Council, but a council officer discovered the sticker had been removed.

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Motorists visiting car parks across Somerset are being advised to not scan suspicious QR codes but instead either pay directly through their smartphone app or with cash. A council spokeswoman commented that while such fraudulent codes are "rare" in the county, they advised motorists to be cautious and vigilant.

A spokeswoman for Somerset Council said: "As soon as we were made aware of this incident, we instructed our officers to investigate and remove any suspicious QR codes. However, when they arrived at the scene, there was no QR code to remove. It’s possible that a third party had already taken down the offending sticker between the initial report and the officer’s arrival.

"Unfortunately, this tactic is commonly used by malicious fraudsters across the country. While our Civil Enforcement Officers remain vigilant in detecting such attempts, it’s impossible for them to be everywhere at all times.

"Thankfully, instances of these fraudulent activities have been rare in Somerset. For the most secure access to PayByPhone, we recommend downloading the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for Android devices."