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Here’s Why You Should Always Shred Your Boarding Pass

By Leah Freeman-Haskin

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It’s a common trend among travelers to leave their boarding passes behind on the airplane. We often tuck them into the seatback pocket or leave them right on our seats. Understandably, many think that once their flight is over, their boarding pass is useless. But that’s not necessarily true for hackers wishing to steal your personal information.

“The problem is, people don’t realize that all your personal information is encoded right there,” says Etay Maor, Chief Security Officer at global threat intelligence firm IntSights. “People should treat their boarding passes the same way they treat their passports. You’d never leave your passport behind.”

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According to huffpost.com, all that is needed for hackers to steal your information is a simple barcode scanning device which can be purchased on Amazon or, even more conveniently, downloaded right on your phone.

Once scanned, your boarding pass can reveal loads of personal information including full name, email, phone number, flight details, and your airline account number. With this information, it’s easy for hackers to access your travel plans, change or cancel future reservations, steal unused frequent flier points, and more.

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The easiest way to protect your personal information when traveling is to use a mobile boarding pass. If you do have a printed version, keep it on you at all times and don’t leave it behind on the airplane, as many of us have a habit of doing. Once you’ve reached your destination, Maor suggests shredding your boarding pass before throwing it away. Also, never post a photo of your boarding pass with the barcode exposed on social media. This happens often without people knowing they are exposing so much of their personal information.

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