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Travelers beware: scammers can access personal info with QR code, barcode on boarding pass

(CBS 58) -- Posting a boarding pass on social media to announce a big vacation isn't uncommon.

A search of the Instagram hashtag "boardingpass" brings up around 100,000 hits.

But that pass can be a ticket for scammers, and they can use it to learn a lot more information than your destination.

It turns out, the barcode or QR code on a boarding pass holds a lot of personal identification, and experts say anyone that is able to scan it has a first class ticket to identity theft.

"...frequent flyer accounts, which can potentially allow you to book travel, use points for other purposes, cancel flights, move them." Ken Colburn with Data Doctors explained all the things someone can do with the information found after scanning a boarding pass.

Frequent flyer Patrick Mclaughlin never thought twice about the barcode on his ticket.

"I print it out, keep it in my pocket, and I lose track of it after I'm on the plane... I don't always keep close tabs on it," said McLaughlin.

With a scode scanner app, his fellow flyers were able to get his name, flight information, and frequent flyer number.

CBS 58 was able to scan the same information from other passengers.

To keep your information safe, you should hold onto your boarding pass and shred it once you're home.

Posting a picture of your boarding pass on social media is just as much of a risk. The code is still scannable through a picture -- and much easier for hackers to access from home.

"It's scary. I hope people take notice. Some people might not think you can get all that from your boarding pass," said Alicia Wilson.

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