Rip up your old boarding passes

My dad shreds any envelopes or unwanted correspondence that has his name, address or any personal information. Admittedly, at first I thought he was being a bit paranoid, but his concern has passed down to me and I often (though not always) find myself doing the same thing.

Understandably, bank statements, credit card correspondence and any other financial fodder is fair game for the shredder, or at least the good old tear-it-to-bits treatment. And while that may make sense, I would nonchalantly throw away my boarding pass after a trip, until recently.

You’ll be amazed at what can be gleaned from the barcodes on your expired boarding pass.

Hackers and all manner of scammers can use it to find out your boarding number. This information, with an innocent sounding call from a ‘fake family member’ can be used to reveal your itinerary and seat number on a plane. Fraudsters can also access your frequent flyer details, discover how much you paid for your airfare and obtain the last four digits of your credit card number.

“The next time you’re thinking of throwing away a used boarding pass with a barcode on it, consider tossing the boarding pass into a document shredder instead. Two-dimensional barcodes and QR codes can hold a great deal of information, and the codes printed on airline boarding passes may allow someone to discover more about you, your future travel plans, and your frequent flyer account,” said Cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs.

And don’t take photos of your boarding pass either, because if it appears online you could also be vulnerable to identity theft.

So, don’t just throw out your boarding passes – shred that piece of paper for your peace of mind.

Read more at BT

What do you do with your old boarding passes? Did you know that so much could be gleaned from your boarding pass?

Related articles:
Avoiding identity theft
Fingerprints to replace boarding passes
Identity theft hits 772,000

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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