Anyone who has flown for business or pleasure has probably torn off their airline luggage tag from a previous flight and casually tossed it into the garbage in their hotel room, or at the airport, just before checking in for a return flight.
Did you know that critical personal information can be obtained by reading the bar code of that luggage tag? Criminals or identity thieves can quickly retrieve a user’s name, frequent flyer number and other information by using a free barcode reader that can be downloaded on the Internet. Once the barcode is scanned, they could access frequent flyer data that could include upcoming flight and travel plans and a user’s address, which could provide opportunity for a future home invasion or worse.
With online hacker’s blog sites available with just a click, anyone with a computer is now a potential identity thief, and by just throwing a luggage tag away, you’re making that easier than ever. A good strategy to take with any piece of paper that contains data about you or your family, encoded or not, is to shred it when it’s no longer needed. Every home should have a basic shredder available, if you’re traveling, ask your hotel if they have a shredder you can use, or just wait until you return from your trip.
With the holiday season upon us, it’s a good time to take extra caution with your data and personal information. Don’t make it easier for someone to find out who you are, where you live, and when you will be gone. Shred those luggage tags and anything else that opens the door to identify theft.