An Identity Theft Lesson for Christmas Retailers (and shoppers)!
I just returned from a Kohl’s store where I was picking up a gift card for our annual Christmas Eve gift card swap with my wife’s family. Instead of giving everyone presents and going to all that work, we simply each buy a gift card for $10 that we think others would like to receive, and then we do a white-elephant lottery where the second person to draw out of the bag gets to take away the gift card from the first person (or blindly draw out a new card out of the hat) and so on down the line. At the very end, the first person gets to choose to take any one of the gift cards. It is low cost, low conflict and an absolute blast. You can probably already tell that my wife came up with the idea, not me.
So I was standing at the cash register at Kohl’s and the clerk asked the woman in front of me (who was paying) to see her ID in addition to her credit card. The woman complained and the clerk explained that it was for her safety, not his. “That’s Inconvenient!”, she roared, and stormed out of the store.
Grumpy Holiday Lady, listen to me:
- The Kohl’s clerk didn’t do it to be a pain in the proverbial arse, he did it because there is an amazingly high incidence of identity theft during the holiday season, especially at discount retailers such as Kohl’s.
- If someone were illegally using the credit card you distractedly left at the gas station just hours before, he would have stopped the crime.
- I can almost guarantee you that the clerks at most major retailers are not trained to ask for your identification before they let you use a credit card. As nice as it would be, the industry isn’t that far along yet. If Kohl’s is, then I salute them. But as I was saying, Scott (the checker I had), actually took it upon himself to protect YOUR interests, and you thank him by yelling at him and embarrassing him? He wasn’t required to do it, paid to do it or even aware that he should do it. But he did it. He deserved a big thank you (I should know, I’ve lost $300,000 to this crime and have now had my identity stolen for a fourth time – thanks Countrywide Mortgage).
- A report just cam out in the past few days showing that retail identity theft and crime is increasing thanks in part to the declining economy. So the problem is only getting worse, and clerks like Scott are only making it better.
Wake up out of whatever stupor allows you to treat poorly the people who are trying to help you, and buy that 17 year old kid a gift card.