BOSTON — School vacation is just around the corner, and that means many of you will be heading to the airport.
Before you go, make sure you're aware of an identity theft risk that comes with flying.
BOARDING PASSES THE TICKET TO IDENTITY THEFT?
Your boarding pass lets you hit the friendly skies, but that little piece of paper could be the ticket for identity theft.
Hot Spot shield security expert Robert Siciliano told FOX25 that most people don't realize their boarding pass actually has sensitive account information -- data that, if it fell in the wrong hands, could be used to steal your identity.
ONE COMMON MISTAKE
FOX25 asked several travelers at Logan Airport what they do with their boarding passes once their trip is over, here were their responses:
"Usually I just throw them away"
"Probably throw it out"
"Throw it away when i get to the hotel"
"I just throw them away when i get home"
Robert Siciliano said that, even if you rip up your boarding pass, your information can still be vulnerable.
"If all a criminal has access to is the barcode, they can still get full blown access to all the information contained in the boarding pass," Siciliano said.
HACKERS CRACKING THE CODE
Easy to download scanner apps for smartphones make it easy to crack bar codes with just a few clicks.
In just seconds, FOX25 was able to find personal information embedded in the bar codes.
The scans found:
- the passenger's name
- travel plans
- TSA pre-check account numbers
- frequent flyer numbers
Siciliano said if a criminal has access to your frequent flier account, they can actually steal your miles and your points. Those points can then be used as money.
Siciliano warned that if hackers can crack your frequent flyer account, that could also open to door to other types of identity theft.
"If your online accounts for your frequent flier miles was compromised, then [hackers] can get access to all your credit card data, all your itineraries, and other personal and private information that, if it fell in the wrong hands, could cause you all kinds of problems," Siciliano said.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR INFORMATION
- Shred your boarding passes, especially the bar codes.
- Make sure your accounts are properly password protected
- Use Electronic versions on your smartphones and delete them once your trip is done
Cox Media Group