Did You Know

Throwing Away Your Boarding Pass Could Ruin Your Life

Krebs On Security

If you've ever taken a plane then you know that you absolutely need a boarding pass to be allowed through security and onto the aircraft.

Upon boarding a flight, most of us tend to discard the pass into the trash, leave it on the plane, in a cab or hotel room.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, you should stop doing that!

A report from USA Today has recently surfaced with shocking information on how your boarding pass can tell a lot more about you than you would expect.

The flimsy piece of paper shows more than just your flight time, gate and seat number, if it falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to breach your personal security and you wouldn't even know it.

So how does a simple boarding pass hold so many details about your personal life?

Following the 9/11 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security devised a passenger screening system to determine potential terrorists before they boarded a flight. The system designates every traveler as green, amber or red so agents can easily understand their risk level. In order to correctly categorize you, the system collects as much information as possible about you and stores it in its database.

This information is then embedded in the barcodes on your boarding pass so that every time it is scanned, the agents can know exactly who you are. This is also why you should never discard it in public.

The USA Today report revealed that the QR code on your boarding pass can be used by hackers to get your personal details including your nationality, passport number, date of birth, country of residence, home address, place of work, email address and even your large purchases. Hackers can also get the same information through your frequent flyer number, which is often displayed on the pass.

By accessing your frequent flyer account, details about your "your future travel plans" also become readily available according to KrebsOnSecurity. Hackers can then modify the information to suit their agenda. All they would have to do is use a barcode scanner app or a website that could decode the data to gain access.

Watch the video below to see how your boarding pass could make you a target for identity theft.

Next time you're travelling, keep this information in mind and protect yourself.

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.