Culture

Identity Theft Giveaway!

Instead of just fretting about cyber thieves, most of us would be better-off doing a little “cyber-hygiene,” making it just a little bit harder to steal sensitive personal information. For starters, says computer security expert Brian Krebs,  don’t toss your airline boarding pass in the trash.

On his blog, Krebs reports that, using a free barcode reader, anyone could find out all kinds important information about you from a discarded boarding pass.

It is never a good idea to make the thief’s job easier. That doesn’t just include safeguarding or shredding papers with personal identifying information.

Not being stupid with your personal digital device in public places would also help.

You know what else is a good idea?

Learn the difference between common sense precautions and urban myths. For example, while you might be concerned about what you do with your boarding pass—you don’t sweat what happen to your hotel room access card. A few years ago the hot advice on the Internet was that these cards carried all kinds of personal information, offering a bonanza of data for identity thieves. Turns out the investigators didn’t get their facts exactly right. While there is space to encode all kinds of important information on access cards—turns out hotels don’t actually put that data on them.

Staying up on top of this sort of stuff makes more sense than getting fleeced by identity thieves.