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Why you should never upload or print your boarding pass

Web Report
Filed on November 21, 2019
 boarding passes, social media, uploading

(Photo: Alamy)

Scammers can steal passengers' flyer points using boarding pass.

Passengers should refrain from printing their boarding passes as well as uploading its photo on social media after it was revealed that scammers can easily steal their frequent flyer points.

Scammers target travel industry after finance due to the value of frequent flyer points as they can be stolen and sold usually on the dark web for hundreds of dollars. Fraudsters just need the name, booking reference and frequent flyer number of a passenger to take over their account.

"Paper boarding passes are just inherently insecure," cyber security consulting firm Cynergis Tek CEO, Caleb Barlow, was quoted as saying in Forbes reported Daily Mail.

He also stressed that Instagram currently has over 116,000 photos of boarding passes under the hashtag #boardingpass, making it easier for fraudsters to get hold of details. 

"If you print out a boarding pass and somebody picks it up, only one person is going to get your details. But when you put it on social media, you're talking about thousands of people who now have your details," Barlow revealed.

He further added that this scam runs on assumption that travellers do not track their frequent flyer points in the same way they check their bank accounts. In one instance, a site called Dream Market was selling 100,000 airline miles for about $880. While hackers not only transfer these stolen points into buyers' account, they also convert points into gift cards and other commodities, which can be easily sold.  

To avoid being a victim of such fraud, Barlow advised travellers to set up a two-factor authentication on their frequent flyer account and recommended using a mobile boarding pass via an airline's app in place of printed passes.

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