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Think Twice Before Sharing Your Boarding Pass On Social Media
Pre-vacation excitement can make anyone want to snap a shot of their boarding pass and passport to show the world. Unfortunately, however, boarding passes carry a treasure trove of personal information. If that data ends up in the wrong hands, you’re in for a rollercoaster ride of trouble.
Access To Your Personal Information
The information on your boarding pass encompasses vital details such as your legal name, ticket number, and passenger name record. This PNR is a unique six-digit alphanumeric code exclusively linked to your booking.
According to Amir Sachs, the esteemed founder and CEO of Blue Light IT, a proficient cybersecurity and IT enterprise, the combination of this PNR and your last name grants malicious hackers unrestricted access to your entire booking dossier. This illicit entry gives them a gateway to your personal contact information, including your phone number, email address, and emergency contact details.
As if that weren’t enough, these cyber criminals can also infiltrate additional sensitive data. Information like your esteemed frequent flier number, Known Traveler Number, and redress number also risk being compromised.
With this information, anyone can easily manipulate or cancel your flights online, requiring no password. If a hacker gains access to your frequent flier account, which does require a password, they can effortlessly pilfer your hard-earned miles. However, these issues are just the tip of the iceberg regarding potential problems resulting from stolen boarding pass details.
Prone To Identity Theft
Josh Amishav, CEO of data breach monitoring company Breachsense, warns that your frequent flier number, name, and PNR hold significant value for identity theft. This data often enables fraud such as opening unauthorized credit card accounts or making unauthorized purchases.
Hackers can also employ social engineering techniques, pretending to be airline representatives, to trick you into revealing more personal information. They can even create targeted phishing attempts using the information from your boarding pass, luring you into clicking on malicious links or sharing sensitive data.
Other Ways To Prevent Data Theft
The risks associated with boarding pass details extend beyond sharing them online. To minimize the chances of data theft from discarded or lost printed slips, you may consider skipping the traditional boarding pass altogether. Kevin Roundy, senior technical director for cyber safety brand Norton, suggests using mobile boarding passes to eliminate physical copies left behind in plane seat pockets, boarding areas, or other locations where scammers can easily access them. However, it’s important to note that digital boarding passes aren’t entirely foolproof either, as travel apps can also be hacked. If you still opt for a printed boarding pass, tearing it up or shredding it before disposal wouldn’t hurt.
Sharing your boarding pass details can have consequences beyond travel-related theft and scams. By alerting scammers of your imminent vacation, you might become less vigilant in monitoring your bank accounts for unusual activity. Additionally, broadcasting your vacation plans implies your home will be unoccupied, leaving it vulnerable to physical security threats like break-ins.
Be Careful If You Decide To Post Anyway
If you’re determined to share that photo, be sure to take necessary safety precautions. You can stage the photo artfully, ensuring no identifying information is visible. Using photo-editing software to blur out sensitive details, including the barcode, is also always a good idea. Hackers can use barcode scanners to extract information from boarding passes shared online or left behind in airplanes and airports, potentially revealing your sensitive information so be mindful when posting online.