Friday, May 05, 2006

Fly, Drive, and Lose Your Identity

Fly-Drive-and Lose-Your-Identity-audio post - click to play

Rent a car. Get on an air plane.

These two tasks performed millions of times daily
across America are seemingly harmless acts.
However, did you know there are just two key
documents that if left behind while traveling

can leave you wide open to identity theft fraud?


Consider this, when you fly anywhere on airlines
you must have a boarding pass just in order to
get on the plane. That boarding pass typically
contains your name and frequent flyer account
number.
But, how many times have you left your
boarding pass behind on the seat or tucked in the
magazine holder in front of you?

With those two pieces of seemingly harmless information,
it is more than possible for an identity thief to access
your frequent flyer account on-line, order new
tickets,
and even change your account
information to theirs
.

Or, how about when you land at your destination and
need to rent a car. If you're like most hurried
travelers, you pay by credit card. But the payment
statement and rental agreement contain more
than
enough confidential information for an
identity thief to commit financial fraud against you.

Why is this a potentially huge problem?

Opportunity and motive.

The opportunity to come in daily contact with a
large amount of potential victims who leave their
boarding passes or rental car agreements behind
to be found by airport cleaning crews is very real.

The motive - well let us just state that the people
who clean up the airplanes and rental cars, while
certainly deserving of higher pay for their hard
work - do not get compensated for every seat they
clear.

With the black market price for valid credit
card
accounts with full name information
being worth
$50 and higher for each, it's a seller's
dream to literally have highly distracted victim's
personal data literally given to them on a daily
basis.

So, our tip for today is when traveling make sure
to keep your boarding pass in your pocket until
you get back to a place where you can shred it.
Also, for that rental car you return, it's also
more than a good idea to spend 1 minute physically
inspecting the glove department or seats for
your
agreement before rushing off to your final
destination.

Remember, identity theft can be a crime of opportunity,
but practicing small acts of daily prevention will
add
up to a big insurance against becoming an easy
victim of credit fraud or scams using your good name.

Special end note:

It's Happy Friday - tell a friend about this free podcast
and subscribe to all of our anonymous, free identity
theft secret tips of the day.

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