QR codes are fun to scan but be warned

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - They are funny looking bar codes called "QR" codes.  They are popping up on TV screens, coupon flyers and around in stores.  They are fun to scan and get special information.

However, we're learning now that they may not be safe to scan.

The"QR" stands for Quick Response.  Marketers love them because they can store a lot of information right to a customer's smart phone with a quick scan.  The tag can redirect a phone to a photo, website or even a movie clip.  The same thing that makes them fast and convenient can also make them unsafe.  WBTV's cyber expert, Theresa Payton, has advice on how to spot the bad ones.

If you click on a QR code that has been manipulated or tampered with, it's the equivalent on clicking on a bad link on an email and – boom – your smart phone is infected!


  1. Wary:  Be wary of QR codes
  2. Watch:  If a QR code tries to install something on your phone, turn the phone off
  3. Protect: your personal information and passwords:

If a QR code leads you to a website that asks for personal information or passwords, think twice before inputting information or go to the site another method


The Better Business Bureau posted a warning about QR codes at:

If you are concerned about your smart phone security, there are mobile security tools.  For a recent review, check out PC Magazine's write up at:  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385361,00.asp

Fast Company has a summary about QR codes and how to use them for your business:



Considered cool by some, creepy by others GigaPan is a software project that Google, NASA and Carnegie Mellon created.

Anyone can take panoramic images, post them to the site, and the site provides amazing details.  You can zoom in and read slogans on a person's tshirt at a U2 concert.  You can see global images collected through GigaPan at:  www.gigapan.org