Amuse Me

I’m All About the Conspiracy Theory…

Last week I went on a book binge at Half Price Books. It is amazing what they have for only a quarter, sometimes fifty cents. Great books that I’ve always wanted to read – it’s almost as much fun as getting a good find at a garage sale. I love that feeling of victory, as if you are conquering something great and huge by getting such a good deal.

As I stood at the counter with my $3.00 worth of books, the man at the next register was finishing up his purchase. He went to pay with his American Express card, and the cashier politely asked to see his ID.

“I do NOT have to show you my license. That is a federal crime asking for that, and I WILL NOT SHOW IT TO YOU!”

She apologized and asked him to calm down. She explained that it was management’s policy, she was just doing as she was told to do.

“Then your management IS STUPID!”

She remained calm – amazing if you ask me, because while I am a patient person, I might have just snapped by that point. Again, she asked him to calm down.

“I will NOT calm down! You do not need to see my license, that is a crime to even ask for it. Once you see my license, you have two-thirds of the information you need to steal my identity!”

She explained that she is not writing anything down, all she is doing is checking the photo and the signature. She calmly states that it is just a safety precaution, to verify that the person using the card is the legitimate owner. She tells him that she doesn’t need to see his ID though if he is not comfortable with it, she will simply complete the transaction. He can make his purchase, have his books and go home.

This is not enough to please this man.

He shows her his ID, covering the address information with his thumb. She graciously thanks him for showing it to her, quickly glances at it to reassure him that she is not copying down any pertinent information, and completes his purchase. The whole time, he is still grumbling about identity theft and how in California it is illegal to ask for ID with a credit card purchase, matter of fact it’s a federal crime. (I guess he realized he was in Texas at the moment, and California’s laws don’t matter here.)

The most amusing part for me? If you’re really so adamant about this, convinced that store clerks are going to steal your identity and all that, wouldn’t you be even more worried about the conspiracy theory ideas floating around out there and the fact that the credit card companies can track your every move based on the purchases you made? Because in the grand scheme of things, I would be a lot more worried about that. Maybe it’s just me… or maybe they really are watching all of us.

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

40 replies on “I’m All About the Conspiracy Theory…”

The simple solution to all of this is to pay for everything in cash. Save the credit card for emergencies only. They can’t track you down or know what you are buying if you aren’t using it.

You’d think he’d have been happy with her for confirming his identity before allowing an unknown person to make a purchase with his card. At least, I feel that way when they ask to see my driver’s license when I use my credit card. Locally, many places won’t let you use your credit card if your license isn’t up to date.

I’m *not* into conspiracy theory… but most states use your SSN# as your driver’s license number – unless you specifically request otherwise. Thus, with the person’s name, address, birthdate, and SSN – it is possible to have identity theft occur solely off of your driver’s license. (A person can generate a fake Birth certificate with this, get another DL in YOUR name, and with this, open checking accounts / establish lines of credit, etc.

Easy fix – request a non-SSN number on your Driver’s license… oh, and shred financial documents before they go in the trash…

First of all, it is NOT a federal crime for a cashier to ask to see your driver’s license when completing a credit card transaction. Second of all, if he was that paranoid about identity theft, he should have been GLAD she asked for his ID as verification, thus preventing any possible fraud. He must have been having a bad day.

When I worked as a cashier in a convenience store, our store policy was to write the phone number and driver’s license number (SSN or not) on any checks we accepted to prevent check fraud. I once had a woman freak out on me in a way similar to the man you saw because I asked for her SSN to go on the check. She was irate. I basically waited until she was done ranting, looked her in the eyes, and said in a calm voice, “I’m sorry for the inconvenience ma’am, but you don’t have to pay with a check”.

Bottom line – If you don’t want to share your information to protect yourself from fraud, pay with cash.

Hehe, and then there’s the state of virginia where people are encouraged to put “See I.D.” in place of their signature on the back of their credit cards. About half the people that went through the line at my old bookstore did that; and now I do, too. I’m a lot less worried about someone stealing my identity by looking at my ID than I am about someone stealing my credit card and getting away with using it because they can match my signature fairly well. (That and I’m terrible at matching my own signature – I just don’t write cursive well and printing just seems wrong for a signature. 😉

Theresa’s got it. It’s not a crime to ask for ID when paying with a credit card. And the law he’s referring to is one he’s gotten mixed up. Used to be that you could ask for a major credit card as a second form of ID when paying with a check. That is now illegal, as people were getting ripped off. Asking for ID is perfectly legal. Stupid old man. I’d have told him where to shove it.

Actually, it isn’t *most* states who use the social as a DL number. Very few states do now, and there is an opt-out policy to avoid it. Which is not to say that there aren’t “uninformed” people who put their social on their checks. 🙂

I think the guy is confused about CA law. When I lived there, it wasn’t legal to ask to see a CREDIT CARD when writing a CHECK, but you most certainly could ask for a Driver’s License to complete either a check or a credit card purchase. My guess is, he’s a tin foil hat card-carrying member. Just don’t ask him to SHOW his card. Heh.

Cash? – Wasn’t there that conspiracy theory going about that the foil strip was actually a means for the U.S. government to trace a persons movements?


Let’s face it – if they want to know where you are or who you are, they will….Ummm, unless you are a terrorist, a murderer, a bank robber or the annoying person who leaves chewing gum on movie theatre seats!

What a moron!

Here in VA there are a few places that won’t take the “check ID” on the back of a credit card, so I have my signature and a small check id along side.

Shred everything, pay with cash, guard your ss#!

That is a riot. I agree with what everyone else wrote – but would just like to add that I bet you any money, he is the first person in line suing anyone and everyone if someone uses his card!!

Identity theft? What about the card number and expiration number that he just gave the cashier? How about the fact that the number and expiration date are sent across a supposedly private network to get authorization? No one can steal that information, right? Tracking customer spending habits is not a myth, it is the real thing. It’s part of the credit card business.

i’m HAPPY when somebody asks to see my ID. i have “see ID” on my card and i would say 75% of the places don’t ask to see it. nice to know ANYBODY could steal my card and they wouldn’t care.

I am happy to show my ID! It makes me uncomfortable when they don’t ask to see it. That means that any one could walk in there with my card and use it! I have a lot of patience too, but I think I would have told him a thing or two.

Speaking as a retail worker, those that make such a fuss over showing their id just make me crazy. It is for THEIR safety!! At my store (I work in accounting) we are required by the DA to put license# and b-date on the check otherwise we don’t have to accept it. The reason for this is because there are so many stolen checks out there and the DA will not touch them without that info. I cannot tell you how many checks I have to deal with that are stolen/forged. We still have about $24000 worth still to be investigated!!

My personal opinion? ID’s should always be checked when writing checks or using credit/debit cards. Always.

Sounds like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed and knock out all his common sense!

I’m more upset when someone doesn’t ask for ID. At least when they do, I know they are verifying that I am me. I thank cashiers when they do.

My sister works in retail and she’s a stickler for checking ID. She’s one of the ones that signed as “SEE ID.”

I bet if he ever was a victim of fraud, he’ll start whining about not being asked to show ID.

Just a thought: If it’s illegal to ask for ID in California, then everytime I’ve been there in the past two years, every cashier has violated federal laws.

In fact, I asked a cashier if it was the law or a policy that just happened to be the same in the stores, and she told me it was in fact the law in California.

The fact that I was pulling out my DL with every credit card purchase pretty much validates that for me.

I have a feeling this guy is one of those paranoid loons that shows up in every store from time to time.

I don’t have the facts to back it up but I’d had “See ID” on the back of my credit cards and was told that it was no longer legal to do that and that the card HAD to be signed in order to be valid… just a thought since I know a lot of people do it… anyone know the truth of the matter?

…Another take on the ID thing…

I always take great glee in showing my ID to ‘the man’ (do people other than Homer Simpson still say that?) – Because, to my mind, that authories think that they can know all there is to know about you from a small plastic coasted card just goes to show how stupid they are.

…It gives me a perverse sense of superiority! (…And makes them wonder what I’m smiling about – which really bugs them!)



Just kidding. 😀

I know what you mean re. the credit card tracking. I worked w/ a guy who REFUSED to ever use a credit card. He cashed his paycheck on Fridays and paid cash for everything because he didn’t want to be tracked.

That guy in the bookstore was one helluva kook!

Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s a crime to NOT show your ID when making a credit card purchase. I know it’s against the rules of every major credit card company, in any case. If they weren’t allowed to check your ID, anyone could use anyone’s credit card anywhere. Guess that’s what this guy wants.

Some people just like being angry and making a big stink about stuff. I would have told him to shut it and get out of my store. Won’t follow the rules? Well now, we have the right to refuse service to anyone, now don’t we?

I found this while searching google for the phrase “illegal to check id with credit card”. I had a similiar experience at the store I work at tonight.

I just had my manager at my retail store tell me it was illegal to check ID, as I was doing so with every credit card purchase even though my company only requires this if the card isn’t signed. Some idiot tried to use a card that belonged to her mother and got all pissed off when she couldn’t produce ID verifying she was the cardholder.

I had a gentleman come into my store and say that it is illegal to check someone’s ID if they have signed the back of their card. I have just started researching this and i am trying to find out wether or not it is true. I can not see it being illegal to check ID if the card is signed and I told him that it is our policy and he could either buy it at my store and show ID or he could leave. In the end he decided that Showing ID was better than trying to find this product somewhere else. Does anyone Know if this law is true? Or was he just trying to avoid showing ID?

Website referenced by Jake on Oct 19, 2004 does NOT address the issue of a retailer asking to SEE identification for verification of cardholder. This website helps in NO way in deciphering whether or not asking for ID is illegal.

In the normal course of a transaction it is in most cases a violation of VISA’s Merchant terms of service to ask for an ID unless it is needed to verfiy age with a purchase|/business/accepting_visa/new_acceptance/merchant_responsibility%2Ehtml|Rules%20for%20Visa%20Merchants Page 34

With an UNSIGNED card, an ID must be presented and the card signed in front of the cashier. SEE ID is also not a valid signature and the card must be signed.

Has anyone read (or seen the movie) 1984 or Brave New World? Ever been to South America? Do you really want to live in a world where it is common to have people ask for an ID to do any business? It will narrow your life without providing one iota of security!

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