How I Learned To Start Worrying And Hate Showing My ID

In response to yesterday’s post about a guy who likes showing his ID to checkout clerks when he makes credit card purchases, Adam rebuts with his explanation of how he used to be OK with the practice, but has now turned against it.

He writes:

Since you posted James’ explanation as to why he is okay with stores requiring his ID on credit card purchases, I thought you might be interested in how I went from being okay with it, to absolutely refusing to show my ID for anything other than alcohol purchases.

Back in the year 2000, I worked as a waiter and never gave any thought to identity theft or privacy. If guests paid with a credit card I ran it and always gave a quick glance at the back signature. If it was signed I ran the card and dropped off the receipts for them to sign. If someone had written “see ID” I would politely ask for a driver’s license. For almost a year, this never presented a problem.

One day, I had a bad customer. He was in a bad mood and taking it out on me. I handled him the same why I handled everyone, by smiling, being polite, and giving the best service I could. When he paid with his credit card, “see ID” was written on the back of it. So, I asked to check his ID. He pulled out his Sheriff’s ID and badge, yelled, “How’s that for ID?”, yelled that I was the worst waiter he’d ever had, and threatened to arrest me. My manager came over and told me to go to in back while she handled this.

Two weeks later, my manager talked to me and told me that the incident had prompted a response from the restaurant corporation’s legal department. I was told that the corporation appreciated that I was trying to respect the wishes of the customers that requested their ID be checked, but to not do it anymore. If the credit card goes transaction goes through, it hasn’t been reported stolen, and if the customer disputes it, all we need is a signed receipt.

Later, I met one executive who told me that at the same time of my incident at another restaurant owned by the corporation, a server was using stolen credit card numbers by wearing a small camera on him. He would always check ID’s and would quickly flash the ID and credit card in front of the camera. That way, he could sell the credit card number and address of someone who had no reason to report their card as stolen. Presumably they could then use it on the internet as many sites require the billing address when using a credit card. The corporation decided that there was too much liability in a restaurant employee having access to someone’s drivers license and began specifically requesting servers to not do so except to verify that the person was of legal drinking age.

So aside from not giving crazy people a chance to go off, there seems to be no financial reason for stores to check ID, and it could be opening the door for a tech savvy identity thief to swipe your information.

ID-showing yaysayers, does Adam’s argument change your mind at all?