EB Games Scans Your ID?

Reader Ben writes us with a concern he has about EB Games ID policy. He was selling his used games an EBGames in Salem, NH when he noticed something out of the ordinary:

“They ask for my ID like normal and I looked down on the EB counter and saw a few printed copies of some Massachusetts IDs. They were plainly visible, easily readable and not nicely stacked (so I could see three or four of them). So, I asked the guy, you scan IDs? and he simply said, Yes.”

Ben has some concerns about this policy (which we’re not sure is nationwide):

My concerns here are two: 1) They leave photocopies of IDs on the countertop for any evildoer to see? Not very secure. 2) They’re scanning IDs of people trading in used games and they don’t bother telling anyone that they’re doing it?

This seems like a legitimate ID theft risk, if it’s true. Does anyone else have any information about this issue? — MEGHANN MARCO

Read the rest of Ben’s email inside.

    Hey Ben,

    I was just at EB Games in Salem, NH getting rid of some games I didn’t
    want (I know, the used game shtick is a rip-off scheme, but it’s easier and quicker than Half.com), anyways, they ask for my ID like normal and I looked down on the EB counter and saw a few printed copies of some Massachusetts IDs. They were plainly visible, easily
    readable and not nicely stacked (so I could see three or four of them). So, I asked the guy, you scan IDs? and he simply said, Yes.

    My concerns here are two: 1) They leave photocopies of IDs on the countertop for any evildoer to see? Not very secure. 2) They’re scanning IDs of people trading in used games and they don’t bother telling anyone that they’re doing it?

    Shouldn’t the EB Games/Gamestop monolith be telling people that they’re aren’t merely validating your identity, but taking a full copy complete with photo, height, weight, age, hair and eye color? Do they really need more than name and address?

    -Benjamin.

Comments

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  1. d0x says:

    I’ve never noticed that at the Gamestop (same company) in Nashua NH…in fact they havent asked for ID when doing a trade in a long while.

    Of course if the need my ID for anything other then proving the name im writing down is really mine and that they are in fact keeping all of the info from my license then they need to say something about it.

    However I think something less then normal is going on in Salem, NH. This is the 1st ive ever heard of them scanning an ID before. I’d call the DM and find out whats up.

  2. Triteon says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised that if in the future stores like this were regulated in the way pawn shops are…IDs, thumbprints and all. Shops like EB and Gamestop would be (are?) a terrific way to fence stolen electronics.
    However, we need to find a happy medium between security, verification and commerce for these outlets. Stacks of covertly-generated ID copies, kept in plain sight, is a bad starting point.
    I’ve never traded a game, but I did buy at EB once. When you trade in, do they also note the serial numbers from your product?

  3. WMeredith says:

    Yes, this has to do with pawn-shop laws, which are local (not sure if it’s by county or state). They’re protecting themsleves from a receipt of stolen good scharge by keeping the ID on file of who’ve they’ve purchased “pawned” goods from.

    As far as leaving them out and about, that’s extrememly irresponsible.

  4. acambras says:

    Seems like if they are subject to pawn-shop laws, they should post a sign notifying people that their ID info is being retained for compliance with those laws. They’re probably not required to do so, but it might be smart.

  5. d0x says:

    I dont think they are subject to said laws unless they are giving cash. Either way they take down your name, address and phone number, a quick peek at the ID to verify the info is correct should be enough.

  6. Echodork says:

    GS/EB in Virginia does not scan IDs. They require name, address and phone number for trade-ins, and they’re “supposed” to check your license to verify the information (few do, in my experience), but they don’t keep hard copy records of your ID card.

  7. exkon says:

    As WMeredith says, it probably has to do with local pawn-shop laws. This is just a security measure that makes sure EB games doesn’t get screwed.

    I’ve traded in games at EB games in WA and they take down your driver license information, but they don’t scan it.

  8. acambras says:

    Wonder what they do when the trader is a 14-year-old kid with no driver’s license.

  9. rbf2000 says:

    I’ve been told that in VA you must be 18 to trade in games. The reasoning is that if you are under 18 and you stole the games, there is no recourse for the company because you cannot be held to a contract.

  10. Mr. Gunn says:

    The copies he saw were probably printouts of fake IDs or something that they’re on the lookout for.

  11. 24fan24 says:

    I don’t really see what good a copy of you ID would be to an ID theft. All it essentially has is your name and address. Any average person can find that and probably a whole lot more on the internet.

  12. Falconfire says:

    “I don’t really see what good a copy of you ID would be to an ID theft. All it essentially has is your name and address. Any average person can find that and probably a whole lot more on the internet.”

    Gives a starting point. In NJ you can use that for your SSN and other information that COULD be used to forge a ID.

  13. juri squared says:

    usual disclaimer: I’m a retail monkey for GameStop these days.

    In addition, the POS system requires employees to put in name, home address, phone number, and the like for all trade-ins. We are also required to put in things like height and hair color if the person wants cash. This is also to track fencers.

    Now, it is much easier to put all this info in (and verify it) when you simply ask for the customer’s driver’s license. However, my store would never, ever copy a license for all the obvious legal reasons. I’m not even sure we HAVE a copier in the store.

    My only guess about why the Salem store copies IDs is that perhaps they get a really high rate of fraud/fencing. I still don’t think that’s an excuse, and I personally would never let any store copy my DL.

    Triteon: GameStop is supposed to record serial numbers when you trade in a system, and I believe when you sell one (I haven’t been around to make many system sales, so I can’t say that one for sure). I can only assume this is to help fight fencing.

  14. Antediluvian says:

    Guys, it’s also possible that it’s not store policy, but rather the “retail monkey” behind the counter has a “business” on the side.

    I’d seriously hold onto my ID in any of those stores. If they want the data, make ‘em write it down. The ID copy also gives them a copy of your signature (as if anyone ever verifies those).

  15. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I think EB Games should be telling customers that their information is being recorded. It may not be a law, but it would be common courtesy to notify customers that they are doing so.

    If they’re actually photocopying driver’s licenses or writing down SS numbers, I’d be worried.

    Side note: The NH DMV will remove your social security number from your driver’s license if you so request. (So at least if somebody steals or photocopies my license, they won’t have my SS number).

  16. Triteon says:

    Thanks for the inside info, juri. I’ll keep it in mind if I ever trade my games (rather than send them straight to museums…Atari 2600 or CoCo 2, anyone?). It is good to see someone is trying to stem the tide of theft and fraud, as intrusive and obfuscated as it may be.
    To dwayne’s point– Illinois asks if you would like your SSN on your DL as well. That’s a negatory, Big Brother!

  17. cynon says:

    How about we don’t give them ID? Aren’t people more than a little tired of everyone asking for ID for every little thing? Don’t people realize that that information — even ‘just’ your home address and phone number, is being put into these corporate databases for who knows what purposes?

    It’s time for our society to STOP treating people like criminals. As usual, defenders of these policies are more than happy to give up their privacy for the illusion of safety from whatever they’re scared of.

  18. acambras says:

    Lots of states are addressing the issue of SS#s on DLs, now. Also, my alma mater stopped using SS#s as student ID numbers a few years ago. And I hear Radio Shack finally stopped asking for your c.v. every time you go in to make a $5 cash purchase. Big institutions are starting to get it, because there’s been so much consumer outcry.

    That said, the other day I was in Lowe’s and the cashier asked for my home phone number. I asked her why. She seemed a bit taken aback (probably everyone else had rattled off their phone numbers). She said it was to tie to the transaction in case I lose my receipt. I told her I’d take the risk. I can understand cashiers asking for ZIP codes, but they don’t need my phone number.

    Sorry — a little off-topic, but cynon’s comment inspired me.

  19. Ben Popken says:

    Anonymous writes:

    “I currently work at a gamestop in MD, and when processing trade-in’s, we don’t scan and copy ID’s, we just review them to verify sure that the customer is of the appropriate age to trade in games.”