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July 15, 2011

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Personal info on tickets

THROW away your used bullet train tickets and get your personal information leaked.

People have found that the bar code on the train tickets can be decoded by software downloaded from the Internet. Information such as passport or other ID numbers, which are partly concealed on the tickets, will then be revealed.

In a recent test, a passenger surnamed Zhou downloaded software to a cell phone and scanned the bar code with the cell phone camera. Information including the departure time and the passenger ID number began to show on the cell phone "within seconds," Zhou said.

Industry insiders said there's no way to prevent the decoding. Shanghai railway police said passengers should tear the used tickets apart before discarding them to prevent them from being used in illegal ways.

They warned that the data could be used to make fake ID cards to use in identity theft and other crimes.

There are 23 kinds of documents that can be used to purchase tickets. Foreigners can buy tickets with their passports, temporary residence permits, exit-entry permits, and diplomatic certificates. The information is stored for security purposes and also is aimed at ticket scalping.

Police said they did not know of any ticket-related scams or decoding since June 1, when a new bullet train ticketing system took effect that now includes the high-speed train between Shanghai and Beijing.


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