It may seem like a harmless way to boast of an upcoming trip, but if you share a photo of your boarding pass on social media you might be telling people – friends and strangers alike – a lot more than just your next travel destination.
Skyscanner Australia has tested this method with our own boarding pass, and although it doesn’t seem to work every time, it is possible to find out more than you might imagine. To make sure you travel safe, leave your boasting to a minimum.
Pretty much all the information you’ve given the airline can be found either directly from your ticket or simply by using the information given to log in to check on your booking. Your name, address, date of birth, phone number and passport number – all of which would be very handy for a scammer to get hold of – can be revealed.
While you may trust your Facebook friends with your life, and your closest ones may already know all your pertinent details, you have to consider that security settings on many sites (especially the likes of Instagram and Twitter) are usually set so that the whole world can what you’ve posted.
If someone, say an ex, wanted to, they could do plenty of damage to your trip and your credit card balance, just by knowing your booking reference and your surname. Many airlines let you check your flight details with just these two details, and then make changes to the booking – such as moving the travel dates, changing the name on the ticket or adding extra baggage and a seat upgrade. You can even see any upcoming flights that have been booked using your frequent flyer number for that airline and change or cancel those bookings too.
However, it's also possible for complete strangers to gain access to your booking with as little as the barcode on your boarding pass. You may not think this is a problem if you're about to board your plane, but there are still repercussions beyond finding out that the second leg of your flight has been cancelled while you're in the air.
Even old boarding passes can pose problems. Your barcode contains all manner of identifying information, all of which can be found with a simple online tool. As well as the basics, they can also see your future flights. This works best if you're member of a frequent flyer program, but it's still possible with some airlines either way.
Listen: Meet the mum who moved to Bali with three kids under five. (Post continues.)
The easiest and most devastating thing someone can do is two-fold. First, they change the e-mail address on the account. Secondly, they change the name of the passenger on your next flight. The confirmation will go to the newly registered address so you won't find out what's happened until you turn up at the airport to find out that you're not booked on the flight. If you do try to login to check on your booking, your details won't work because your name won't be attached to any booking.
To travel safe, and stay safe online, it's important to keep your personal details close to your chest. As for that boastful airport pic – how about the departures board or the plane outside the window?
This post originally appeared on Skyscanner Australia and was republished here with full permission. To read the original article, go here. Skyscanner Australia is a leading travel search engine, comparing millions of prices from airlines and online travel agencies to help travellers find the best deal on their flights, hotels and car hire with no added fees. You can also find Skyscanner Australia on Facebook, Twitter