As we get ready for what we hope is a busy summer travel season, our friends at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are taking steps to ensure our vacations are safe: from avoiding scams to allowing sunscreen to testing new ID-confirming technology.
See below for our round-up of spring news from TSA!
Scammers Taking Aim at PreCheck
If it’s time to renew your TSA PreCheck enrollment or if you’re thinking of beginning the process for the first time, take note: the Better Business Bureau has been alerted to multiple scam websites that either impersonate a US government website or advertise as a third-party company that will do the enrollment “legwork” for you. Both are fraudulent and aim to access personal information such as name, passport number and home address.
When searching for the TSA PreCheck enrollment website, make sure the site has a secure link (beginning with https://) and is a legitimate government website (ending in .gov). While the “real” site will appear toward the top of search engine results, so will the fake ones!
When making purchases online, always use a credit card, so that if a charge is found to be fraudulent, it can be disputed. Remember that in addition to collection personal information, some of these underhanded websites are also collecting payment… and never submitting either your application or payment to TSA!
TSA Clarifies Sunscreen Policy
Recently, reports surfaced that TSA would allow bottles of sunscreen larger than 3.4 ounces in travelers’ carry-on luggage. This information was reported in error, and TSA has issued an important clarification on whether or not sunscreen is allowed in carry-on bags.
TSA officers will allow sunscreen in a carry-on bag, provided it is no more than 3.4 ounces in size. Unfortunately, as has always been the case, any bottles or spray can of sunscreen larger than 3.4 ounces should be placed in passengers’ checked luggage or risk the important (and expensive) component of any sun-and-fun vacation being confiscated at security checkpoints.
TSA Testing New ID Verification to Speed Up Screening Process this Summer
The Transportation Security Administration has long been a proponent of new technology. In the last year, TSA has been performing tests on a new credential authentication technology, or CAT, that they hope will speed up the screening process and reduce physical touchpoints for passengers traveling this summer and beyond. These trial periods took place at Spokane and Seattle-Tacoma international airports in Washington and at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York.
The new technology allows travelers to simply hand their ID to the TSA officer, who runs it through a scanner for verification. The system verifies that the traveler’s ID is authentic, and that they are prescreened to travel from that particular airport on that day – eliminating the need for most travelers to show or scan a boarding pass. Travelers under age 18 will still be requested to show a boarding pass.