Can I see your ID not your signature? (credit card merchants)

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by arogge, May 20, 2014.

  1. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    Location:
    Tatooine
    #1
    How are you dealing with retail merchants who take your credit card and then demand to see a photo ID, usually a driver's license? I'm really getting tired of this again, a problem which is a violation of the credit card merchant agreements. Some of the issues cited are about privacy of the customer and the importance of verifying the signatures on both the card and the sales receipt.

    Despite the ease of knowing the many reasons why not to demand a photo ID, and to refuse suspicious writing on a card that says "See ID" or some other such silliness, major retailers and retail outlets are still doing it. When challenged, excuses from employees have included:

    • I need to know who you are.
    • The card doesn't have a photo on it.
    • It's store policy.
    • The manager will tell you the same thing.
    • I check everybody.

    Guess what almost all of these employees don't do even after I show them what appears to be a driver's license. Yeah, the signatures, the one thing that is emphasized in the merchant agreements as being very important in preventing fraud. Even after receiving a sales receipt with a fake signature, they do nothing to report the discrepancy, and simply complete the transaction, satisfied that they have verified ID.

    I have recently been the victim of identity theft and fraud. In one incident, my credit card was duplicated. The fraudsters were able to obtain a copy of the magnetic stripe and tested it with a $20 purchase. A few minutes later, they came back and attempted two $300 purchases at the same store. Both purchases were flagged and declined, allowing a trace on the suspicious location and opening the possibility of prosecution. I received a phone call from the card company less than 15 minutes later, quickly absolving me and the merchants of further financial responsibility.

    A second recent incident involved a fraudster who went to a bank branch and attempted to tap my account. This fraudster was almost caught, but the teller did something stupid. She apparently asked the fraudster for a photo ID because he didn't have the account number, which he showed to her in the form of a driver's license. Instead of looking at the signature on the withdrawal form and noticing that it was nothing like the signature on file for the account, she accepted the driver's license as proof of identity, spilled all of my account information for him to fill out on the form, and then processed the fraudulent withdrawal, leaving it up to me to figure out what happened and report it several weeks later.

    I've walked out on many a sale because the store employee insisted that I was in the wrong for refusing to show a photo ID. I've complained about a few of these merchants, but the problem seems to be increasing, while these foolish people behind the counter refuse to follow their merchant agreements by verifying the signatures!

    How effective has been your experience complaining to the credit card companies about these incidents of merchants improperly demanding photo ID, often as a substitute for the signature verification?
     
  2. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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  3. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #3
    Sure...go ahead...be reasonable and ruin it for everybody!:mad:
     
  4. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

    Staff Member

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    #4
    I show them my ID. Pretty simple. All they're doing is verifying that I am the card holder and protecting themselves from potential fraud.
     
  5. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

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    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    #5
    I work at a bike shop and it's really obnoxious when people refuse to show ID for large purchases. If a fraudulent purchase is made, guess who gets ****ed? The person who runs the card.
     
  6. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #6
    In my almost 52 years, I have never been asked to give ID when using a credit or debit card. Shrug.
     
  7. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #7
    Sorry! Man, I can't believe I messed up again!:eek:
     
  8. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #8
    I usually burn the place down after peeing on it.

    Just kidding. I show them my ID. Had no idea that was some violation. You know what I'll do next time? I'll show them my ID.

    And how does refusing to show ID prevent something like this?

    Did he have a fake ID with your picture on it?

    Do most merchants have your signature on file to compare it against? If someone is making a fake card, why would the signature not match? I'm just not sure how this fixes anything?

    I've done this literally zero times, and don't even understand why "signature verification" would be effective.
     
  9. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #9
    Years ago when I worked in retail Visa, Mastercard, Discover and AMEX (the four cards our store took) all had a requirement of verifying ID through a drivers license if no signature on the card was present. If a signature was present you could use that OR you could ask for ID.

    Asking for ID is 100% acceptable. Its also required by law for certain purchases (R rated movies, certain drugs, etc).
     
  10. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #10
    You don't seem to have understood the merchant agreement. It is not 100% acceptable to demand a photo ID when a signed card is presented. A government requirement to demand a photo ID for certain purchases is not related to the credit card transaction itself.
     
  11. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #11
    I don't understand how the signature on the back of the card is a security feature. Can't the person who has the card just copy the signature? :confused:

    That being said, I still haven't signed some of my cards and I've been using them for a year - not asked once about it.
     
  12. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #12
    I don't sign my credit cards.
    I do expect to show my ID, if asked.
    I also watch to see that the clerk actually verifies my face (or at least appears to do so).
    Seems like a reasonable request to me.
    Life is too short to worry much about the details of some merchant agreement - I am just participating in a purchase, and asking for additional ID doesn't upset me in the slightest (and I have no doubt that the retailer doesn't really care what I think about their agreement with the credit card issuer)

    Clerks, in my experience, don't ask to hold my photo ID, and I don't offer.
     
  13. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #13
    The signature on the card is NOT a security device.

    Rather, its purpose is to show that you've agreed to pay per the agreement you have entered into with the credit card company.

    Yes, it's pretty silly. No, it's not worth a damn.

    If you don't sign your card, you're technically in violation of your cardholder's agreement, but what that means in practice is... well, you get the idea. I sure couldn't see a vendor calling up the CC company and narc'ing you out, or what the CC company would do about it.
     
  14. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

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    Around
    #14
    Only once in a while I am asked and it's not that big of a deal. They are protecting themselves and also me too, because they are just making sure it's "me" on that credit card.
     
  15. arogge thread starter macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #15
    Clearly, we need some education here too. It is a violation of the credit card merchant agreements to demand a photo ID such as a driver's license when a signed card is presented. One of the reasons for this include the protection of customer privacy, for example someone like myself who would rather not reveal my home address, birthdate, weight, and medical conditions to every merchant that I interact with. Another reason is people don't always carry a driver's license. Sometimes I only walk or bike with a credit card in my bag, no cash and nothing else except my house key and maybe a cell phone.

    It is a requirement to verify the signature on the sales receipt by comparing it with the signature on the card. If the signatures do not match, but the transaction has been approved, no further interaction with the apparent cardholder should be attempted and the transaction should be reported immediately as potentially fraudulent. A photo ID can be used as a substitute for a signature, but this does not protect the merchant as does a signed receipt if there is a dispute.

    Most merchants require a signature on a sales receipt that is defined by the transaction approval from the credit card company. Some merchants do not require this for accounts that are recognized as frequently-used, or when the amount is below a certain amount, or when they are using an electronic signature through a third-party processing service. If there is a dispute, only a signed receipt may be accepted as a valid verification of identity.

    If a card is duplicated, as mine was, the fraud protection needs data to find the problem. It was the $20 test that triggered the heuristics. When the fraudster attempted to continue the purchases, the transactions were declined and his location was determined.

    Signatures are much harder to falsify than a photo ID. Criminals who seek to forge signatures often require many weeks of practice before they can become proficient at the task of signing for just one person. This effort required deters most criminals who want the maximum return for their activities, limiting such signature forgeries to those who have a specific, high-value target in mind. A driver's license, on the other hand, is easy to make. It has become a universal ID from government offices that are an example of inefficiency, some of which have themselves been involved in issuing driver's licenses to illegals who can't drive.

    I can have driver's licenses made for cheap, and put any information that I want on them. They all look real to the casual observer, complete with the security features. The only way to figure out that there's a problem is to find discrepancies between the physical attributes and the person holding the ID, or by finding a difference in the mailing address and the expected address, or by contacting the DMV and waiting for verification.

    In most cases, I can fool the bouncer looking for under-21s at the door of a nightclub, the merchant selling alcoholic beverages, the doormen at Must-Show-ID government buildings, and (which is why I oppose it as a solution to fraud) the poll worker checking in registered voters. They take a quick look at the photo and the name or age flag (Under 21 until...) and that's it. Verified. The DMV is also one of the worst places to get a portrait photo taken, so looking like a badly-exposed person in a photo is much easier than if the photo quality was higher. In the case of voter fraud in the form of multiple voting, I could figure out who isn't voting and have driver's licenses made, and then go around voting for those non-voters with a high likelihood of getting away with it. If the only acceptable ID was a passport or a voter ID card, the task would become harder. Only because the driver's license is so widely accepted as a universal ID is it so easy to use for fraudulent purposes.

    Many of the issues I've mentioned are clearly stated in the credit card merchant agreements and guides, and there is a reporting mechanism available to report merchants who continue to violate these agreements. Some I know have received letters to the contrary of their apparent policies. Failure to stop the demands for photo ID can result in a suspension of the credit card merchant account associated with the business location.
     
  16. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #16
    Sounds like you really need to talk this out...
     
  17. matty1551 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    #17
    I don't get it. Wouldn't checking your ID be a better preventative measure than checking your signature??

    I mean I could scribble someone elses signature pretty easily but having a legit looking fake ID of the cardholder would actually be more difficult to come by.

    Really not sure why you are so worked up about this. You sound like my dad. 99% of the stuff he says is negative and he can only be tolerated in small doses before someone gets mad at him or he gets mad at you.

    OP, how old are you? I'd guess you are 50+
     
  18. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    #18
    I doubt signatures are compared or offer any security protection in the average retail market. Most merchants just want to match the photo ID name with the card name. As already mentioned, fraud is a huge problem. Signatures mean nothing nowadays, especially since so many signatures are written sloppily from a barley working electronic pen & pad. I usually don't get asked for ID or to sign anything for transactions below $40.

    I recently went to a Jeweler and made an expensive purchase. My card company called me directly on my cell a minute after the card was swiped. They also almost always do this when I travel beyond the tri-state of NY and attempt a purchase. I just had to answer a few security questions and state that I approve the transaction.
     
  19. SandPebble macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #19
    I have no issue when I am asked to present my photo ID when I use a credit card.

    Not that big of a deal. I feel that the merchant is protecting them and me.
     
  20. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #20
    And yet the prevalence of customer-facing card swipes basically bypasses ANY checking of signature. Every week I go to the market for groceries, every week I use a customer-facing card swipe device and every week I am never asked to hand my card over to confirm signature (if even required based on the amount I've spent). I could go to a warehouse club, spend $140 and cash out as a self-serve cash-out aisle and never interact with an employee for the transaction.

    As convenient as terminals like that are, I see them as MUCH more of a threat than someone asking to see my photo ID.

    I've been asked once to show my photo ID and that was because I had forgotten to sign the back of the card.
     
  21. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #21
    Agreed. However, when they ask they only compare the signature about 50% of the time.
     
  22. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

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    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    #22
    These are the same kinds of people who refuse to answer questions at department of homeland security checkpoints... Yes people do that.

    That conversation usually goes something like this:

    DHS Officer: "Are you a United States citizen?"
    Person: "I don't answer any questions."
    DHS Officer: "I need to know if you're a citizen of the United States."
    Person: "As a citizen of the United States, I don't have the right to remain silent."
    DHS Officer: "Have a good day."
     
  23. samiwas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #23
    But herein lies the question...if some fraudster made a fake card, then the fraudster would be the one to make the signature on the back. When he also signed the receipt, they would match. The merchant would have no way of telling if the card and/or signature were fake, so this method of fraud detection is pretty much useless.

    It might work for stolen cards, but it's doubtful most minimum-wage cashiers are going to be putting too much effort into handwriting analysis. I think an ID is more secure than a signature comparison, but that's just me. Oh, and apparently everyone else on this thread.
     
  24. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #24
    I understand it completely. Some retailers require you to go through training and this training that I remember was straight from Visa.

    You're being oversensitive to a non-issue.
     
  25. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #25
    I rarely - very rarely, maybe once ever few years - get asked for ID for a credit card purchase.

    I don't mind them *seeing* it and having a quick look.

    I do, however, draw the line at them scanning it or typing in the DL. That's a whole nuther ballgame that I simply will not play. I've walked out on purchases over that.
     

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