Target Store Scans Driver’s License / ID Card Data

George Hulme at InformationWeek has an interesting story about a Target store scanning his driver’s license when he went to buy Nicorette gum:

Now, during checkout, the cashier asks to “see” my driver’s license. Alright, since I’ve been carded before buying controlled substances, I figure she needs to check my age.

Before I have a chance to realize exactly what’s going on, the cashier swipes my driver’s license through the register. The machine then kicks and spasms out my receipt. Whoa!

I inquire, “What information, if any, was captured from my license?”

I get that deer-in-the-headlights what-ya-talk’n-bout glaze. She’d never thought about, or was apparently never asked, why she was physically scanning driver’s licenses.

“You asked to ’see’ my license, but you swiped it. Big difference,” I say.

The cashier has no idea how to answer his question. Hulme leaves a message at Target’s press office asking for information as to whether his data was merely scanned to verify age or if all of his license data was downloaded by Target; if so what was the reason for this data capture and how long were they going to keep his data. No answer. He also e-mailed Target customer service and got a response. But it was a non-response. Read his full story.

Note that the final regulations for the REAL ID national identification system includes an unencrypted machine-readable zone. This means that anyone with an off-the-shelf card reader could swipe and download your personal data. And DHS Secretary Chertoff wants everyone to use this national ID card to “cash a check, hire a baby sitter, board a plane or engage in countless other activities,” so all of those situations could lead to your data being downloaded and retained.

Has your license or ID card data been swiped and retained by a store, bank, bar, club or other business? Tell us about it. E-mail jph AT papersplease.org

14 Responses to “Target Store Scans Driver’s License / ID Card Data”

  1. m f Says:

    My drivers license was scanned by a Target employee as well what’s up with that? More information please!

  2. Anonomous Says:

    Just happened to me - NOV 20 2009 - LANCASTER OHIO - buying a video game for my early teenage son - I am 45+ years old and unfortunately look my age also - so when the cashier said she need to check my ID as the video game (call to duty modern warfare 2) said 17+ mature on it. I made a joke to my son that only I would be allowed to play the game when we got home.

    I rarely shop at target but my son had some Target gift cards given to him by friends for his birthday.

    With out thinking I handed the cashier my Drivers License - Thinking she was going to look at my birth date again I am obviously 45+ years old if you look at me and hand it back to me.

    BUT

    Just like all the other stories here and else where on the internet I have found about this issue - the cashier turned around and swiped my Drivers License through her “computerized card reading /register” before I knew what was happening. And I am now sure that some where up in Minneapolis in Targets corporate headquarters, in some server now all of my PERSONAL information is now stored.

    I am certain I will now start receiving Target “JUNK MAIL” which I have never received before.

    As well Target will most likely SELL my PERSONAL INFORMATION - to other marketing firms.

    I complained at length to the store manager and could not believe they had so “nilly willy” “STOLEN” MY PERSONAL INFORMATION with out even asking me my permission to swipe my DL first.

    I asked the store manager for her full name address and DOB - she was unwilling to supply it to me - I asked her then why she thought she had the right to have mine and much more like my height and weight eye color DL number and god only knows what else my state puts into that bar code about me, etc also!

    I told her that I could not believe that I could not go into their store buy a product pay with a gift card and cash and leave “anonymously”

    That I had to supply them with my full legal name, my address, my age & DOB, height, hair color, weight, and my DL number and until just this past April 09 when my DL had to be renewed here in OHIO - they would have gotten my SS# also - but that was again just recently removed - Finally - by the state when I renewed my DL.

    Basically Target corporation has just STOLEN MY IDENTITY! - THAT IS THE THANKS I GET FROM THEM FOR SHOPPING IN THEIR STORE!

    I was given a number to call by the manager when I called it - I got some guy in New Delhi India! As I asked him where he was - I Hung up!

    I AM NOT DONE AND PLAN ON CALLING UP TO MINNEAPOLIS AND NOT GIVING UP UNTIL I GET TO A HIGH LEVEL CORPORATE MANAGER THAT WILL SPEAK TO ME.

    I AM ALSO CONSIDERING HIRING AN ATTORNEY AND SUING TARGET FOR INVASION OF MY PRIVACY AND TAKING “STEALING” MY PERSONAL DATA / INFORMATION WITH OUT MY PERMISSION!

    I WILL CERTAINLY NEVER SHOP AT TARGET AGAIN!!!!!

    WE NEED TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS PRACTICE - AS I AM SURE MORE & MORE RETAILERS ARE DOING THIS SAME THING ALSO - FROM NOW ON I WILL NEVER AGAIN HAND OVER MY ID TO ANYONE AGAIN - THEY CAN READ IT FROM THE CARD WHILE I HOLD IT & I WILL NOT HOLD IT UP UNTIL AFTER I TELL THEM / MAKE IT VERY CLEAR - THAT THEY ARE NOT REPEAT NOT TO TOUCH IT WHILE I AM HOLDING IT UP FOR THEM TO READ ONLY! AND THEN IF SOME TAKES IT OUT OF MY HAND I WILL CALL THE POLICE AND PRESS CHARGES ON THEM FOR ASSAULT & THEFT!

    SIGNED - “REALLY PISSED OFF” -

    P.S. THIS CRAP NEEDS TO BE STOPPED!

  3. GH Says:

    I have just left a Target store in Hilliard, Ohio where I wrote a check for my purchases and the cashier (speaking in heavily accented tones) requested to see my driver’s license. I showed her my wallet with the driver’s license clearly displayed and she told me I had to take it out (of my wallet). I did, expecting her to copy the required info onto my check when she took my license and turned to her register and swiped it. I was so astounded! I asked why she had swiped my license and she replied (best as I could understand) that it was because I was writing a check. It was futile to try to talk with her about the incident, the store’s manager was not available at that moment and I had other deadlines so I left the store. I bought 2 doormats, a bathmat, a can of mixed nuts, 3 paper notebooks, and 2 potato chip bowls — NOTHING ANYONE OF A_N_Y AGE WOULD BE PREVENTED (BY AGE) FROM BUYING! I am SO incensed and absolutely can not stand that my personal information was ripped off by Target. I am going to continue pursuing this and I hope if you have a similar experience that you will also. If we all roll over and have that “…whatever…” attitude then woe betide us!!!

  4. Gerry P Says:

    I have been promoting a method of resisting this practice by Target here in Florida. We just present our concealed weapons id card instead. It is a state issued hologramed picture id with DOB on the front and nothing on the back. A few times it has required a call for a manager to enter an over-ride code into the register, but not usually. The staff HATE this company policy of driver’s license scanning and are not afraid to say so. One of them told me that the company sells the information both from the scans and from their pharmacy.

  5. WTF Says:

    I just got my new license and out of curiosity looked up the info on the new scan technologies I see on it. Glad I did because I am quite alarmed to find all the free scanning software available to read anyone’s ID card. Just install it right on your cell phone and scan it with your camera. And then of course all of these articles about businesses scanning it when you visit them. Nice way to thank us for our business, ya know?!!

    I think I might try taping the back of mine with duct tape. This will at least protect me from the quick barcode scan before I can catch them and hopefully make them slow down and explain themselves. It also is does not damage the license, so a policeman can remove the tape without ticketing me for tampering with it.

    Third I think it might prevent “drive-by” scanning of my wallet by magnetic readers and such. I will have to hunt around for info on magnetic protective tape. Meanwhile, I believe the new protective sleeves that are available should help keep it safe in my pocket while I’m in public.

    Soooo not pleased! What is this? China?

  6. WTF Says:

    Notice to businesses: I will NOT be spending my money with anyone who requires a scan of my ID, period.

  7. Wimpie Says:

    1. Erase the mag strip with a permanent magnet.
    2. Hit the 3-D bar code with a permanent sharpie - wipe off most of the excess. Makes it look like normal wear-and-tear, not “tampered with”, but unreadable.

    Have been stopped (speeding), and the cop can’t scan it, so he has to key in the info. Doesn’t seem to bother them.

    If they really need your info, they can WRITE IT DOWN.

  8. Johnny Says:

    Target only does this because they were sued by a parent that stated that they were not aware that the game that they bought was a muture rated game. By target scaning your id you cannot state that you were not aware of this. The idea behind this is that children under 17 will not have a state issued drivers/id card and cannot buy the game with out there parrents concent. No actual info is retained by target except that the transaction was approved similar to the process of buying beer.

  9. Mike Says:

    I hear a lot of people complaining BUT, I haven’t heard anyone say that it is legal OR illegal to scan Drivers licenses in Florida? I have been looking on the interent and haven’t found anything definative! Only a Florida statue that states: License to be carried and exhibited on demand; which must be fully legible with no portion of such license faded, altered, mutilated or defaced, in his or her immediate possesion at all times when operating a motor vehicle and shall display the same upon the demand of a LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR AN AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DEPARTMENT.

    This basically tells me that ONLY a Law Enforcement Officer OR A D.O.T representative can ask for your drivers license!

    If someone can come up with something better I would greatloy appreciate it!

    Thanks

  10. Sorry, Target, but you have no right! « Kris’ Blog Says:

    [...] Papers Please! Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  11. L Arnold Says:

    This just happened to me while buying a pack of wine coolers in Riverside CA. Clerk asked to see ID. I thought he was just going to check birthdate and he scanned it before I could say anything. I complained to manager who just shrugged and said it was their policy. Is this legal? I will never shop at a Target again and am trying to spread the world. I sent a complaint email to Target Corp and BBB.

  12. Jorge Says:

    I just finished complaining to Target HQ, about my license being scanned in Fl. I bought a bottle of wine. I’m over 50. The employee asked my for my driver license, before I knew it she was scanning it. The store manager tried to blame it on the employee, saying she could have just looked at it, but it is corporate policy, whatever the name is for invasion of privacy, and risquing my own ID info, in an unsecured scanner. If they are going to do that the should post a sign were the liquor is or at the register, so the customer has the option not to purchase the item. I ‘m not a lawyer, but I have been told by law enforcement people, that they are the only ones together with banks, that have the right to ask you for that information, unless it is agreed on a business agreement. Obviously Target does not inform the customers about their policy, so I conclude that there’s no such agreement with me. Therefore clearly unconstitutional, if not illegal

  13. Joe Says:

    Had the same problem with Target, went to pick up a case of beer for a BBQ and she asked me for an ID, thought she was kinda stupid (over 60) showed her, she asked me to take it out, I did…she swiped it…I couldn’t believe it. Something is smelly here. Target is a French owned company so won’t be getting any more of my US money

  14. Robert Says:

    Same thing happened Target in Mishawaka Indiana

Leave a Reply