No, You Cannot Scan My ID

Tell me about you.

On a recent trip to Target, I decided to add some compressed air to my cart. Working in electronics, I find compressed air to be almost a necessity. The servers, computers, switches, and other equipment I use routinely need a good “spritz” of compressed air to keep the dust from accumulating.

But I digress.

When I went to check out, my cashier advised that I needed to scan my ID to purchase the compressed air. Not just show her my ID, but rather have my driver’s license scanned into their register. This of course allows Target to scan, read, and store my personally identifiable information. Although just someone’s full name fulfills the criteria of personally identifiable information, a Driver’s License barcode and/or magnetic stripe contains much more. By scanning the driver’s license, Target retains my full name, date of birth, address, gender, race, driver’s license number, license information (restrictions, endorsements), organ donation, and issue date.

First, let’s look at the obvious…

Why does Target need my Personally Identifiable Information?

When I was told that I was required to have my license scanned, I asked very simply, “why?” The cashier told me that Target required my age when purchasing the product. I told the cashier, that I’m almost 40 years old and asked how old I needed to be to purchase the can of compressed air.

While she called her manager (and told her that someone refused to identify themselves), she told me that the age restriction was 18. Let’s face it… I’ve posted pictures here. I’m not mistaken for a teenager. I haven’t been mistaken for a teenager in 20 years. Even though the cashier believed I was over the age of 18, she said she was not allowed to sell my the item without my driver’s license being scanned.

The manager arrived and very abruptly and confidently told me that I was required by law to scan my license. I told her that I knew of no such law and asked her if this was a Florida law or a Federal law? She called her Security team and told me, “the security guy said you can google it.”

I didn’t allow my ID to be scanned and I didn’t get to purchase the item. Incidentally, not once have I had my ID scanned for Alcohol (purchased at Target), R rated movies, or other items that are restricted by age.

Here’s the bottom line

There’s no reason that you should show or give your personally identifiable information to Target. Especially when they do not provide you with any information on how this information will be stored, protected, used, and shared. They did not provide any summary of Fair Information Practices or describe to any degree of cause as to why this information was needed.

The United States of America, at one point, greatly valued personal freedom. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case today. I believe that your personally identifiable information needs to be protected, whenever possible. I don’t let people take my ID and walk away with it, and I won’t let Target scan it in their cash registers.

Instead, I’ll choose to no longer shop at Target.

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About Fred Posner

Fred Posner provides VoIP consulting services through The Palner Group and LOD Communications. In 2010, Fred Posner and his wife, Yeni Monroy, opened their bakery, in Gainesville, Florida.

84 responses

  1. Fred….once again an excellent blog. It amazes me that Target would have such a policy or attempt to collect our information in such a manner. My first question would be, Do other retail establishments require ID to buy compressed air? I recently purchased a helium tank from Party City to fill ballons for a birthday party…will ID be required in the future? How about the Air Freshner I buy, as a consideration to my roommates, at my local supermarket??? Will ID be reuired for that? I ASSUME Target’s reasoning for ID Verification is to prevent kids from using the compressed air to get “high”. WHIPPITS I believe it is called….but when is enough, enough??? Are we now, or in the future, have our ID swiped for any purchase involving compressed anything or is this solely a Target policy? Hmm…..thanks for the post.

    • I know! They said it was “the law” but couldn’t tell me anything. I looked it up quickly and didn’t find any requirements for it. Seems to me like a policy.

  2. Fred,

    I’ve not heard of ID being required for compressed air. However, as an allergy sufferer, I’m all too familiar with requiring ID to purchase decongestants based upon pseudoephedrine. For example, Claritin D.

    At first I was put off by this, most especially because the drug stores were just looking at my ID and having me sign a book. My sense was that the regulatory & law enforcement agencies were not getting that info in a timely way.

    More recently they scan my drivers license into the register. At least this way there a possibility that the info might be of some value to someone in law enforcement. I truly doubt it, but the possibility exists.

    • The problem is with what your Driver’s License has and the fact that there’s no information on what is being done to protect this information. Just look at the recent hacks with some big name stores and the access to your credit card info. Now, imagine someone has your Name, Driver’s Licence Number, Home Address, Date of Birth, Race, Sex, DL Issue Date, DL Expiration Date, etc… which is all there when you scan your license.

      Funny enough, I called their corporate office and talked with someone who transferred me to the “main supervisor.” The supervisor told me this is their policy, not a law. When we were talking I asked her for her name… she would only say Joan, as she would not be giving her last name. I asked for her date of birth, as my policy is to only talk to adults. She said that I could assume she was an adult. I said I couldn’t, and needed the following information: Name, Date of Birth, Address, Race, and Sex. She said she got my point… but somehow I don’t think she did.

  3. fred, this sounds like a problem with an easy solution … i’ll see if i can dig out CITI’s magstripe writer.

  4. You can of course present other forms of government ID. I give them my military ID, there is no bar code to scan. Or carry your passport, still no bar code to scan there either.

    Of course the best thing to do is point out this hypocrisy, thanks Fred for letting us know about Target stupidity. and then for all of us to not shop at Target.

    I have a choice when I shop, and there is a Meijer right next door to the Target in my neighborhood. I will be shopping at Meijer.

    BTW, when Target asks for personally identifiable information, in many states, they must make available to you their privacy policy on how they will handle that information.

    Cheers!

    Steve Pierce
    Ypsilanti, Michigan

  5. Well, this just happened to me today at Target and I’m outraged. I will write to Target, my congressman and senators because we cannot allow this to continue. Need to check my age? looking at my ID should suffice!

  6. Same story when I tried to purchase compressed air at Target in Pasadena California today. The kid/checker had no idea why he was supposed to ask. I told him that I didn’t really need the air. The man in front of me did get his license scanned – but he was buying Sudafed. A very curious and bizarre policy. There must be some reason for it.

  7. I just returned from Target and at 59 was also asked for my ID to scan to purchase “air”. I told them no and removed the item from my order, then went down the street to WalMart and bought the same item with no problem. With policies like these Target will always lag behind other retailers no matter how much the remodel.

  8. Dear Fred,
    It is indeed unfortunate that this corporation scans your ID. However, you are completely missing the point of their scans.

    These compressed air canisters contain chemicals that can be used for many dangerous purposes;

    There are many products related to compressed air canisters contain explosive fumes that have been used to create bombs. Purchased from several different stores, this ID check ensures that a potential threat to YOUR safety does not walk around town purchasing bomb material from different stores.

    More directly, these canisters contain dangerous chemicals that stupid teenagers inhale. They have been known to cause permanent brain damage, and and toxic.

    I apologize that some nameless person might have of 1 in 1,000,000 chance of seeing your name and drivers license number flash up on some screen at the DEA. It is a small price to pay in order to ensure the safety of ourselves, and help prevent careless drug abuse.

    -Justin

    • Hi Justin,

      Thanks for the comment, but I disagree. I am absolutely not missing the point here… And counter it with:

      There are many products related to compressed air canisters contain explosive fumes that have been used to create bombs. Purchased from several different stores, this ID check ensures that a potential threat to YOUR safety does not walk around town purchasing bomb material from different stores.

      If this is the case, then they need to tell me that my personal information will be released to the government. And I must be informed which agencies are being told, what information is being stored, and how long this information will be held. Quite honestly, I find this scenario of one person buying many cans from different stores implausible. First, the government’s chances of actually preventing this are nil. Second, you are stopping one scenario– the lone bomber. What about the organization that sends 20 people to buy cans of compressed air? Either this is a substance that should not be sold ever, should be licensed, or should be free to buy without Big Brother tracking my life.

      More directly, these canisters contain dangerous chemicals that stupid teenagers inhale. They have been known to cause permanent brain damage, and and toxic.

      I am almost 40 years old and no longer a teenager. If the person needed my ID she could have looked and checked my birthdate, and moved on. No reason to scan it. If she thought I was enabling a “stupid teenager,” she should have called the police.

      I apologize that some nameless person might have of 1 in 1,000,000 chance of seeing your name and drivers license number flash up on some screen at the DEA. It is a small price to pay in order to ensure the safety of ourselves, and help prevent careless drug abuse.

      We fundamentally disagree here. (1) My information in mine. (2) It’s an enormous price. Ben Franklin said it best:

      They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety

      To me, that’s the complete oposite of your “small price to pay.”

  9. There is a simple solution to people scanning your card without permission: Use a sharpie marker across the barcode, or if it has a magnetic strip, run a magnet across it. Law enforcement already has your personal info and can get it from the information on the front of the card as needed. Protect yourself from others trying to get it because of some nebulous “policy”.

  10. The only time you must show your DL is to a cop, when you’re driving & have been stopped for a supposed infraction. (Like those mysterious tail lights that are never out when the owner looks, but only when the cop does.) Leave it in the car.

    If some place legally demands ID, show them one without a bar code, mag stripe, or address. I use my concealed weapons license or military ID. (Both of which also generally provoke a change of attitude in the clerk.)

    If they only demand a bday, make one up or use your parents’. Few clerks are curious, smart, or alert enough to realize you look awfully young for your claimed bday.

  11. Just yesterday I was detained at Target, and refused ‘a sale’ as they said my personal check was no good. Since I was not driving/did not have my license on me, I offered up my FOID card as a legit/state issued form of ID to pay by check. They were not interested in looking to see if the ID matched the name/address on the check, they were mad/refusing the sale because there was no bar code to swipe on my FOID card! So,(gotta love this part) the person with me, who’s name isn’t even close to mine, and who is of a different sex than I (the person writing a check) handed over his license, they swiped IT and then my check was suddenly accepted!
    There is SO MUCH WRONG with this that it would take too many paragraphs to describe. Boycott Target! I know I’ll never shop there again!

  12. Well it’s the case in Massachusetts, as well. I can confirm that. — Target asked for my ID, I replied “you’re kidding right” the salesman said no the item popped up as needing ID. — He offered to call the manager, but I said I could buy it later.

    For the record I’ve bought compressed air at other stores, without showing ID for it.

    Also:
    I wrote ‘See Picture’ on the back of my credit card, and often display but not have scanned my driver’s license, because of it.

  13. Update: My first thought was this particular brand had something in it, mandating the Fed’s saying stores need to scan IDs prior to purchase. —

    But FYI: Amazon.com sells the same brand of Compressed Air. — In this case ‘EnDust for Electronics 100% Non-Flammable’

  14. I wrote to Target to find out why they needed to scan my FL DL. This is their response:
    Thanks for taking the time to ask us for more information about our ID request for an alcohol purchase. I’ve shared some information below about our policy for ID requests:

    -Target complies with all local laws and regulations regarding minimum age and identification requirements.
    -Target customizes its in-store training and technology to closely conform to state and local liquor laws, particularly those involving preventing sales to minors.
    -The register will automatically prompt for identification.
    -Store team members should ask for ID for all guests regardless of age or appearance.
    -Scanning an ID provides a more accurate way to verify date of birth and creates a quick and efficient checkout experience for our guests.
    -When scanning an ID for this purpose, our systems only collect date of birth.
    -No other personal information is captured

    Thanks again for writing. We look forward to seeing you soon at Target.

    Mary Jo
    Target Guest Relations
    http://www.target.com
    (800) 440-0680

    • I’m going to have to throw the bullshit flag on their response. First, most local laaws require federal compliance. Since they don’t comply with federal guidelines on information collection, they can hardly claim to be compliant.

      Second, if their employees are not intelligent enough to look at an id and determine if there is 18 -21 years of age difference between the date of birth and the current date, then the employee should not be running a cash register. Adding and subtracting a difference of 18 should be a skill any elementary school educated person possesses. If you need a machine to be more accurate, then we need to just end society now– we’ve become too stupid to move forward.

      Since their system “collects” date of birth, what is done with this information once collected?

  15. They are collecting people’s identities to sell. As if that weren’t enough of a reason to stay away from Target, the biggest problem is that it’s only a matter of time before they get hacked into and all of those identities are stolen. Stay away from Target.

  16. I finally got around to searching for this in hopes of finding this exact article. My ID was scanned for an alcohol purchase (not at target) and at first I was like “whatever, someone can’t subtract”, but the more I thought about it the internet marketer spoke loudly in my head. The lady politely asked for my ID, appeared to check out the front of it for about 10 seconds and then flipped it over and “BOOP”, scanned it.

    “What are they doing with the information” is right? Some say, “no big deal”, but would they think the same when they are getting phone calls or texts based on that information stored by a retailer they shopped at? Folks say “how can you get my phone number when it isn’t on my license?” A simple Google search will answer that one. What about getting MORE junk mail based on the fact that you bought compressed air from Target? They those people are thinking twice about it.

    I am going to take advantage of my rights and cross the bar code with my sharpy (what a great idea) and deal with them on a case by case basis. I am not only glad it was happening to others, I am glad to have the chance to comment here with others thinking the same thing as me.

    Nice write up and I must say that any corporate reply to this issue raises a huge RED bullshit flag.

  17. I was at a local turkey hill (convenience store) attempting to purchase a white owl cigar. The cashier asked me for my ID and I was more than happy to let her see it, this being the first time I was asked to show my ID. I recently turned 18 and don’t exactly look like an adult.

    So I unfold my wallet and hold it for her to see. She replied in a nasty voice “oh no honey, you need to take that out so I can scan it.” I was shocked by this but didn’t really think twice about it.

    After I purchased the cigar and returned to my car, I started to hypothesize why they needed to scan my ID. I guess the whole legitimacy thing works but it’s not like she looked at the screen to see if it was real or not. People often buy cigars to fill with cannabis and smoke. Maybe they have a record of cigar buyers and are trying to connect it with cannabis use. Thats a little far fetched but hey, you never know

    Whatever the reason, I did feel a bit violated and will not let someone scan my ID without some reasoning behind it.

  18. Tuesday Morning, Inc. in Florida scannes your driver’s license with every return which has a recept, regardless of payment form, e.g. cash or credit .
    They told me that it’s their return policy. It’s not! The policy is not implemented in every State, but I was told that they are working on it! I was also told that the information from your driver’s license is stored in their “secure database” which is used to keep track of your personal returns. The reason for that is to control consumer theft! Unbeliavable!!!
    I will never shop at Tuesday Morning, Inc. because they invaded my privacy. I will also contact every agency possible to report the applicable to Florida unethical return policy.
    And after reading these posts, I also will demagnetize the barcode on the back of my driver’s license. Thanks.

  19. I hear ya fred! My daughter is 17 and went to return something at the Target in Abington Ma and they wanted her social because she had no receipt! I refused to allow it so they said they wanted mine. I told them to screw,(the item was something only they sold as it was a target specific brand as say white stag is to Walmart) anyway, they wouldnt even let her do an exchange without it. So I asked if there was a ten year old and they lost a receipt would they want it from them too? They said Yes! A ten year old really? So I said then you can take a kids money but wont return it since what kid keeps a receipt? They said yes. My daughters items were even defective and via MA law needed to be exchanged or returned and they refused that too! I am reporting them to my state and better business bureau!

    • As I said in the post/comments, I went to another store and purchased it without being asked for ID. The war is certainly not moot… and noone will scan the ID. Your complacency is not something to be admired. Stand up for yourself and protect your privacy.

  20. I just left a Michael’s craft store in San Antonio. Was exchanging a frame. The cashier asked for my Driver’s License, but when she started keying in the numbers, I stopped her. She said it was their policy now, just to make a return. I kept both frames. Also wrote to Corporate to express displeasure, and let them know that as long as possible, I will do my shopping at Hobby Lobby. ID theft experts tell us all the time not to give out personal information like that if not necessary. Michael’s is certainly not necessary.

  21. I hope you never need to buy any medication containing pseudoephedrine because the paper logbooks are long gone. Your information is now entered into an online database, which can only accept a drivers license, military id or passport and the government does track your purchases!

  22. Found this site after doing a search. I am visiting here in California from Australia. We live in an excellent climate, however it doesn’t make me look younger than my 45 years.

    We went to Target to purchase some provisions, including a 6 pack of beer for myself. I was asked to provide ID and immediately my bullshitometer went on high alert. I showed my Australian license and was told to remove it from my wallet to be swiped. I said “What are you going to swipe?” (we have no magnetic stripe on our licenses). She then had to call over her supervisor for approval. I complained to him that it was bullshit requiring ID, his response, we have people buying alcohol who are of age then giving it to children outside the store.

    Once again I proclaimed bullshit and pointed out my 14 and 11 year old kids standing next to me. “How does recording my license details prevent me from giving the alcohol to these two?” I proclaimed.

    It amazes me that in a place where it is legal to carry an unconcealed weapon, that this ‘policy’ of Target is allowed to exist.

  23. My girlfriend recently visited a Michaels Arts & Crafts store to return something she purchased with cash. When she presented her receipt and the item to the cashier, she was asked for her driver’s license. She didn’t understand why, but presented it anyway. The cashier scanned her DL and then processed the return. When my girlfriend spoke to the manager, she was told that it was required for all returns. She was also told that if she had paid by credit card, they would not have had to ask for ID. Huh???? Doesn’t make sense to either of us. I believe they just wanted her personal information. She won’t be shopping at Michaels ever again. Thanks for the heads up about Target.

  24. I was unaware of this practice until yesterday. I picked up a video game in Target yesterday as an xmas present for a relative, it was rated “Mature 17″. Im in my 30’s and have a full beard, im clearly over 17.

    When I presented the game the kid on the register asked for ID so I handed him my driving licence. I figured he was just covering himself legally and waitied for him to hand back my driving licence. Unknown to me he had a portable scanner gun in one hand and scanned my licence in a split second. What bugs me is that I was never informed that this would happen, he just scanned my licence without asking or my permission.

    I asked him why he needed to scan my licence and he said that the register locks up on him and there is nothing he can do to unlock the register until he has scanned an ID. 5 minutes later I was in the Walmart up the street and buying rifle ammo as my next gift, no ID required.

  25. So check this out….. I have been refusing to let Target scan/swipe my DL whenever I purchase a mature game. (I am 40 years old) for the last year or so. Some workers understand and others treat it like an inconvenience to them because now they have to radio in to a manager for a date of birth override. Ok, so here is where I am pissed… I went back to target to do a price match on a mature game that I purchased less than a week before. The woman at customer service was very friendly, she told me that the computer is asking for my ID because it is a mature rated game. (on a price adjustment?) I’m not sure how they do the price adjustments there, I am assuming they credit it as a refund and then make another transaction for the new lower price? So, as I am handing her my ID, I tell her very clearly, that I do NOT want my ID scanned and that she will have to have a manager override. She says ok, takes my ID and then one split second later, she scans my card!! Un-flipping believable!!! “Why did you just scan my ID when I specifically told you that I don’t want it scanned?” Is what I rudely asked her. Her reply was very apologetic she said she was sorry that she just scanned it without thinking. Then she said, I can get a manager here to do the manual DOB entry. I told her “It’s too late!!! you already scanned it!” She apologized again, and told me sorry it was her fault, at which point I looked her in the eyes and said, “No, it’s my fault for actually handing over my ID to you and expecting to to follow my simple request on not having my personal information scanned into a target database! I, could tell that I upset her, but I was pretty upset too. Maybe next time she will pay more attention to some ones request when it comes to scanning ID’s. So, what I have learned from this, is I will never hand over my ID again, I will hold it in my hands and let someone read the Date of Birth off of the card.

  26. I ran across this today while shopping for Christmas presents at Target. I was asked for my ID so I proceeded to flip my Washington State drivers license out from my bill fold. I was informed that they had to scan it. I told them that no, they could scan the back but they could see my ID. They of course scanned it anyway and told me that none of my information would be recorded, but honestly? I don’t believe that. I should have walked away from the purchase all together (1.5 hours of shopping and $~200 in stocking stuffers), but I did not. I think I will go back just to try out the age override. If they won’t do it, I’ll leave the entire purchase at the counter and walk away. I say boycott Target for any purchases requiring an ID scan until they change their policy.

  27. My only question is could you not give them a old id with your info blocked out like an old state id or drivers license. Just a thought

    • One of the earliest comments suggested we make our own ID or change the mag reader. In Florida, the won’t let you keep your old ID intact, I’m not sure of the other states. I also like the idea of showing a passport which couldn’t be scanned.

  28. I just had the exact same experience in a Santa Fe Target store. I knew enough about their crazy policy for cold medicines, but didn’t realize that compressed air was such dangerous stuff! I thought the cashier wanted my id to check my credit card, as often happens, but before I knew it she had scanned my driver’s license. (I’m a middle aged man, btw). I told her that after shopping at Target every couple of weeks for 6 years, I wouldn’t be back this time. Enough is enough. From now on, my license will not leave my wallet and no one will be scanning it.

  29. Target is not the only retailer collecting your information. Best Buy, Michael’s Arts and Crafts, Victoria Secrets and Bed Bath and Beyond are four retailers that will not allow an exchange or refund unless you allow them to swipe your driver license, state issued I.D., Military I.D., or passport. If the document does not contain a magnetic strip, the clerk will physically enter the number into their computer. But these retailers are not storing your information. Best Buy uses a third party called Retail Equation; that company store your information, not the retailer. The retailer won’t divulge this information at the time of purchase, nor while they are swiping your information during a return or refund. When I lived in California retailers once asked for my zip code, but that practice has since been outlawed. If it is considered an invasion of privacy to merely ask for a zip code, why is it not an invasion of privacy to harvest my personal information from my driver license, then deliver that information to an off-site third party. What exactly is Retail Equation doing with my information?

  30. What a load of crap. Target scans any I.D. that requires ANY items that can be used as drugs, such as alcohol, compressed air, nyquil, and so forth. They scan it for the government to keep an eye out to make sure youre not making meth or any illegal drug. If you dont like it, too bad, every retail store is forced to scan personal I.D. cards by law. Learn the system before whining.

    • If you dont like it, too bad, every retail store is forced to scan personal I.D. cards by law.

      Really? What’s the law? Don’t worry when you can’t find it… there isn’t one.

      Learn the system before whining.

      Ironic

      They scan it for the government to keep an eye out to make sure youre not making meth or any illegal drug.

      Sounds like communism to me. I’d prefer a country that allows it’s citizens to be free and only invades their privacy with probable cause and a warrant. But, what do I know… I believe in freedom.

  31. Derp, I find your comment very interesting. I work for a hardware store where we sell many items that can be used in bomb making, drug making and so on. We even sell ammunition and are only required to ensure that the person is either 18 or 21 depending on whether the ammunition is for long gun or hand gun. I would really be interested in you showing all of us where you get this “law” from. In other words put up or shut up.

  32. So agree. This is bs that target scans our ID. It’s an official document given by the state. Target isn’t using this system for verification, it’s building a database of shoppers habits.
    I refused to have mine scanned and some nerd ass clerk tried scanning it without my permission. Manager was cool about it cause I told her that if they think it’s a fake ID, call the cops. She entered a bypass number. I was only purchasing cold medicine! Something should be done. I don’t want the government knowing what I’m buying and I don’t want target scanning and using my data. At bars, they don’t require scanning, why should target!? Shame on you target!

  33. I tried to return an item this morning at a Michael’s Craft Store that I previously paid cash for, with my receipt. The clerk stated that I had to supply my DL in order to receive my cash back. I refused and requested the manager come speak with me. Unfortunately the manager touted the same line. I explained to her that I used cash for my transaction, which is a fairly anonymouse medium and shouldn’t warrant
    Michael’s capturing of my personally identifying private information. She said that this is Michael’s policy. Eventually, with demanding my item back, telling them I would never shop at Michael’s again, the manager was able to trick the register in to opening because the amount was under $5.00. I really could care less about the return at this point. My major issue is with this flagrant violation of my personal privacy.

    I’m really amazed that both the Manager and Customer Service Rep did not see a problem with asking for this information. Obviously they are just following corporate return policies (which interestingly enough in this incident weren’t even listed on my receipt). Michael’s webpage states “Information from customer ID will be retained in a company-wide database of customer return activity that Michaels and its affiliates use to authorize returns.” But they themselves are cosumers. It’s upsetting that so few people seem to have an issue with this policy.

    How can Michael’s guarantee the safety of this information? How do I know who has access to it? We as cosumers should not accept a policy like this. My transaction was anonymous, I paid cash and furnished my receipt. We simply must not accept behavior like this from retailers who employ practices like these. We need to shop at retailers who honor our privacy. If we continue to let violations like this happen, I’m concerned what will be next, this feels like death from a thousand cuts…

  34. I recently, purchased a money order for $200 and cvs scanned my DL without telling me. All attempts to secure the law they referenced came up empty. A few days later I was in Walmart trying to purchase cold medication and had to wait for over 30 minutes besause they were scanning my DL. All attempts to secure information about this policy and law came up empty. I asked questions no one ever called me back. Just the other day I Famous Footwear. She scanned my DL too. All of these actions were done without asking me. So I was left with complaining after the fact. I’m thoroughly pissed off that these policies, laws and regulations are not posted. I had my receipt for my return, paid cash for the measley money order because I didn’t want to wait 2 weeks for the check to clear my account and my freakin nose was stopped up and runny when I went for the cold meds. I’m really fed up with entities collecting information to police us. So here’s my take; I found a sight basically thanking the states for improving retailers for doing such a great job of collecting the info on enhanced DLs; some states are making money selling the info; with health care reform potentially causing more negative cash flow for insurance companies the only way to cut their losses is to show we could have prevented certain things as demonstrated by our habits. And yes night clubs, liquor sellers are scanning DLs too. All I need to know now is which concentration or work camp will I be sent to because whoever is operating the master plan needs to know our creator gave us the greatest and most powerful gift of all our WILL. So let’s chose not to buy from those who blatenly reduce our ability to protect our selves. I thought Hitler was dead. Perhaps with all this tracking no innocent people would be jailed as their “foot prints” would be evident.

  35. I was asked for ID yesterday at a Target store in New Berlin Wisconsin. The clerk was scanning 12 Packs of Pepsi products when she was interrupted and alerted on the screen of her register that the customer needed to provide ID. I instinctively reached for my driver’s license but noticed she was ready to use the scanner to read the information on the back. I asked her why but didn’t expect her to know. After refusing to hand over my license she was bright enough to try to simply enter a date manually in her register which seemed to satisfy the god of cash registers.

  36. Have you thought of starting a petition of some sort that can be sent to congressmen/women? Are you familiar with Change.org? This all needs to stop, now.
    Same crap happened to me today while trying to return an item at Michaels, the story is so long and stupid I don’t have the energy to type it all. Needless to say, I still have the item as they didn’t get my license.

  37. I have items to return to both Target and Walmart and am planning to do it today. Ugh, I shouldn’t have read this post. Now I am completely irritated at needing to return anything to Target or Walmart – however, I don’t want to pay good money for bad product either!
    I am a “chronic returner” under the guides of what I heard on the news once :)
    So I tell a little white lie from time to time (Hail Mary’s for days) and I have invented a new name for myself and a story that my car was broke into and my purse stolen, alas, I have no ID. Just in case, I have taken a razor to the back of my ID to keep them from swiping it. I didn’t know it could be de-magnitized. I thought about using my Passport once, but I would rather them force me into giving them my State # and not my Federal one. And I did try to use my old ID from a different state once too, but they said it had to be a valid one. WHY WHY WHY?!?!?! I just wish there was a “real way” to fix this problem.

  38. Target in San Mateo, CA asked me for my ID when I bought cold medicine (Nyquil, both daytime and nighttime in a bundle) this weekend. Fred — You’ll be proud that I said “no.” And like everyone else, they had to call a manager and “override” my DOB with a fake one.

    No way EVER, Target, will you SCAN and STORE my PID. What are you capturing? Where does it go? Who sees it? What are your security policies? How many times have you been hacked? And when was the last time?

    Too many unanswered questions here. And it makes me want to get a fake ID just to shop at Target because of this bullsh!t.

  39. I don’t think there is any conspiracy going on with this, but I don’t think it’s a good thing either, and I would like to share my story with this.

    I just got out of a Target fifteen minutes ago, where I was asked to show ID to purchase compressed air. I was a bit surprised since I didn’t know that compressed air was that big a deal, but I had a bus to catch and couldn’t stop to ask questions. So I handed the cashier my ID and she scanned it, which was also a surprise because 1) her exact words had been “I need to see your ID,” she said nothing about scanning it and 2) I didn’t even know my license HAD a barcode, much less one that Target’s scanners could read. I mean, when I was in an accident last year, the officer wrote my details down with a pen and paper.

    Anyhow, so when I got out of the store and onto the bus I searched on Google to try to find out why I had been asked to show ID for compressed air. The last time I had purchased compressed air was two years ago at an Office Max. I was 16 at the time and didn’t even HAVE a license yet, but it didn’t matter since they didn’t ask me for one. So I assumed the rules had changed in the past two years and I wanted to know why. (I didn’t know that compressed air could be used to get high or whatever). I didn’t even THINK about the scanning until I saw this post – I’ve never been asked for ID for age-based reasons before. (I’ve only been 18 for 4 months and I’ve only shown ID to prove I’m me, not to prove I’m 18.) So now I guess I just have to hope that Target never gets hacked.

    I’m not going to stop shopping at Target because I don’t believe that they have malicious intent with this scanning thing and I don’t have anywhere else to get groceries. I am going to try to make sure I never buy anything age-restricted there again. Also, bit of a side note, it can’t be about cashiers being unable to do the math, because (in Illinois at least) driver’s licenses and state IDs issued to people under 21 are printed in a vertical orientation, are red at the top rather than green, and contain a red box next to the picture that says “Under 21 until” with the person’s 21st birthday. And if you’re under 18 when you get your license, like I was, there’s a yellow box next to the red one, and the yellow box says “Under 18 until” with the person’s 18th birthday. So no one looking at my ID has to determine that someone born on May 31, 1994 would be 18 now, because it says right on the card that my 18th birthday was May 31, 2012, and I will not be 21 until May 31, 2015. So that’s a bit odd, that Target would make the computer lock up until an ID is actually scanned.

    (I did list my real birthday above, but my name is not actually Bob. In fact, I’m a girl. So don’t bother trying to find me or anything weird like that. Deal?)

  40. Clerk at Target tonight, while purchasing wine: “You know we can see how much alcohol you’ve purchased. Ever”.

    So let me get this straight… the cashier at Target sees a list of every bottle/box of wine I’ve EVER purchased at Target??? (Yup). I love wine. Lots of it. Specifically, Target wine. And no, I do not have a Target card. I am outraged. Passport and cash from now on…this is absolutely ridiculous.

    Also, when they say the only information they keep is your birthdate, you can obviously tell from my transaction tonight that that is very false.

  41. Glad you didn’t close it Fred, today I had to get some Sudafed for my wife who is sick. Last year I had to and they copied every line on my license into the meth database. I was expecting that again. Today she just poof scanned it. Now I’m freaking out. I am scared to death that Kroger’s (a regional grocery store has my SSN)

    On the http://www.theretailequation.com/ which is for the returns under their FAQ it says:

    “Verify-2 captures several pieces of information from IDs to ensure accurate consumer identification, and the information captured varies from state to state. Typically, this includes identification number, name, address, date of birth and expiration date.”

    I know my state quit listing your SSN on the front of the license, but it’s probably in the barcode. With the information on the license and SSN anyone could be me (as if they would want to).

    Scary to think they can cross reference the data on your DL and rewards card then from that they can reference your name and email on facebook and most people what info do you have left?

    I read the other day that a major rewards card company (they do they program for many companies) is working a deal with facebook to crossmatch your rewards card email with your facebook email to track what you buy compared to what you say on facebook.

    Add this DL scanning into it and it’s a tad more than scary. Wait till insurance companies sign on,

  42. Oh my goodness! So I witnessed this very same thing at Target yesterday. Please forgive my ignorance, but when the gentleman in front of me in line refused to let them scan his ID I thought to myself, “what’s the big deal…just let them do it if you want to buy that air”. The scene/display I witnessed left enough of an impression on me that I simply had to google “need to see ID to by compressed air”..and that is how I stumbled across this blog.

    Call me scatter-brained, but I never actually thought about what happens when a store scanned my ID. I never thought it was recording anything, I thought it was merely just the computer checking to see that I was of age to purchase something. Now, that I’ve read all this I feel a bit silly and now feel creeped out that my personal info is probably just floating around out there in Target’s database.

    Thanks for writing this blog…this definetly opened my mind and gives me a whole new outlook on things and how I should guard my personal info!

    Thank you!

  43. I bought some stuff for Christmas at Brookstone in Long Island but decided to return them a week later when I found a better gift elsewhere. I had paid for the items with a credit card and produced the receipt so I was surprised when they asked for my driver’s license. I thought they were just going to look at it and make sure it matched the name on the credit card but NO, they scanned it into their machines! I felt violated and angry that it was too late for me to protest. Of course the robots that work there will just say “company policy”. Is there any way we can fight back against the continued encroachment of our privacy rights? Please don’t say “don’t shop there anymore” because this practice is becoming more widespread and soon it will be “the new normal”! Why do we accept this?

    I am going to take your advice and run a sharpie over the barcode and a magnet over the strip on back. Hopefully that’ll stop the unnecessary collection of personal data!

    Is there any other way to get a legit ID that doesn’t have a barcode or magnetic strip?

  44. My brother died when he was 16, the reason?? consuming compressed air!!! That is a drug, they inhale it and they see the devil. I understand why they ask for it, if you are buying it on a daily basis they will know that you are miss using it, same as when you go to the pharmacy an buy over the counter medicine that requires ID. Special Report KCRA3. (2006) The dangers of inhaling “Dust-Off” compressed air/computer cleaners aka “huffing” by teens, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b03ZSk8g40U

  45. Julian wrote: “My brother died when he was 16, the reason?? consuming compressed air!!! That is a drug, they inhale it and they see the devil. I understand why they ask for it, ….”

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Julian, but no corporation has the right to take the law into their own hands and invade customers’ privacy in this manner. Now, if there was a true law requiring data collection (as currently with some decongestants from behind the counter), fine. I may grumble about the nanny state, but I’m a law-abiding citizen and either will comply or just not buy that item. Nanny corporations, however, are utterly unacceptable. If they’re so worried about what people will do with alcohol, mature games, cold medicine off the customer-accessible shelf, or compressed air after purchasing it and walking out the door, then they simply shouldn’t sell it. Period.

  46. I’m pretty upset that Wegman’s grocery chain scans your license to get a store shopping card. I thought they needed my license to take my name/address, but they swiped it without asking and acted like I was a nut for caring.

  47. Actually since I work at target, they really don’t use that information for anything, it’s basically to save our asses from letting kids sell alcohol and certain products to kids underage. So would you rather wait 10 minutes everytime for a manager to bounce around typing in her manager code to over ride it or would you rather just let the cashier politely scan your ID so she can continue helping other guests, because the only way she can let you have that product is scan your ID or wait however long it will take for a manager.

    • Sadly, you’re mistaken– not about the working at target part… I have no knowledge of that… but when you say:

      Actually since I work at target, they really don’t use that information for anything, it’s basically to save our asses from letting kids sell alcohol and certain products to kids underage.

      That part. Absolute bullshit.

      Target uses any information they can collect, even from Facebook, for Marketing, Internal use, and will even share it with others.

      Read their policy. This includes the driver’s license numbers they get from things like… scanning your ID.

  48. You asked for it America! By handing over the entire economy to these giant corporate fuckbags you have allowed the fascist system to take control. You don’t know the law either stupid Americans. If you took a little time to stand up and learn the law then you could say “Fuck no! I won’t do that” to these corporate fascists. Instead you decide it’s more important to know everything about a football game player. Real smart America.

    And to let a security guard with a 4th grade education to be the authority on the law pretty much sums it up. I had a young girl tell me in line that “I took criminal justice so I’s knows the law!” Come on American pussies, Isn’t it time to take a stand before we are herded into the cattle cars? Our country suck bad enough already.

    I’m just saying….. WTFU!!

  49. I had something similar happen to me over the weekend when I tried to enter a bar. They asked for everyone’s drivers lisence so they could scan it into the system. When questioned by me they replied with “to check to see if you are banned”. The whole entire time after I let them scan my ID all I could think about was that they now how all of the information from my ID and why couldn’t they simply look at the name on my driver’s lisence and then look into the system to see if my name is present!!! I will NEVER let anyone scan my driver’s lisence again!

  50. The simple way to handle this is to fill a cart with about $400 dollars worth of stuff and put the offending item last. When they ask for ID, refuse and refuse to pay for the other items unless you can purchase the item requiring an ID scan. Simple disobedience that costs them money. Don’t forget to load up on frozen items. LOL

  51. Just had this happen at Target today. The real core issue here is that I was not asked if I was allowing my ID to be scanned, I was told, “Can I see your ID?” and when I held it out for them to look at the birth date, it was jerked out of my hand and scanned before I could protest.

    Such an invasion of privacy is a gross violation of my rights, an immensely impolite way for a business to treat those valuable customers whose patronage is beyond being taken for granted, and an unethical business practice.

    So I filed a report with the Better Business Bureau–not that it will help. But me never shopping at Target? That will have an impact. Because that will effect the bottom line.

    Customers pay a company’s wages. Consumer advocacy will either be heeded and a company will succeed and maintain, or it will be ignored and the company will dismantle.

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