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I-Team: Experts Warn Passengers To Protect Boarding Pass

BOSTON (CBS) - If you are catching a flight, it's all business when it comes to keeping track of your boarding pass.

But once you are on the plane, do even remember what you did with it?

A lot of travelers admit they can be careless.

"I normally just leave it in the bin in the back of the seat in front of me," one passenger said.

Others leave them in the hotel room, or even post them on their social media accounts to share their travel plans.

Here's why all of that is a bad idea: Some boarding passes have revealing information hidden in the barcode. But with a simple cell phone app, anyone with a little expertise can find out personal things you don't want them to know.

Valerie Ugarno let us try it on her boarding pass at Logan Airport. "That seems a little scary," she said after the app revealed her information.

Some airlines like Southwest scramble the information on the barcode others don't, revealing frequent flyer account numbers.

"So on the ticket itself, it's blanked out, but if you look on the barcode, the entire number is listed," said forensic expert Winston Krone.

It didn't take long for Krone to hack into a frequent flyer account using the boarding pass of a volunteer. The carrier's website simply asked a security question to recover the password.

"We simply had to guess her favorite sports team," Winston said.

At that point someone could change flights, steal frequent flyer miles or worse.

"We also could see her home address, her personal telephone number, her personal email address," Krone said. "Great stuff for further attacks if we wanted to try to get into her bank account. This would have been a great start."

In a statement, the International Air Transport Association says, "each airline makes its own decisions with regard to security protocols for accessing members frequent flyer accounts."

For passengers it's a wake-up call. Something to keep in mind the next time you think about tossing your boarding pass into the hotel trash bin.

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