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Before scanning another QR code read this scam warning!

Bad guys are placing fake QR codes on top of real ones. Here's how to protect yourself.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Since coronavirus became part of our daily vocabulary, QR codes have skyrocketed in popularity. 

For example, if you go to a restaurant, chances are they'll have a code on the table. You take a picture of it with your phone, and it will give you a link to the restaurant's menu. Now, cybersecurity experts are warning that scammers are going around putting fake QR codes on top of the real ones. They look pretty similar, but the fake ones can take you to sites that install spy wear on your phone.

The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina said that's why it's really important to look at the link that pops up at the top before you just click away.

"It's something to be aware of making sure you see the whole URL that it directs you to. Short links are definitely a red flag," said Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.

That's because short links can hide where the QR code is really directing you to click. You want to see the full website written out. For example, you can tell this one really takes you to WFMYNews2.com.

Credit: WFMY News 2

Also, instead of using a phone's camera to scan a QR code and go to a link, you can download a QR scanner app with a security feature to protect you. It will check it for suspicious content. To ensure it does that, read the description of the app's features to make sure it approves websites before visiting them.