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The Sun editorial: ID required – An unnecessary step or a security measure?

“May I please see ID?”

People younger than age 40 hear this question often, whether it be at a bar, during their trip to the hardware store for a DIY project or when picking up a pack of cigarettes at a gas station.

Individuals of all ages receive this request at banks and credit unions, when cashing a check or withdrawing money. They are sometimes even asked for identification when using credit or debit cards for regular transactions.

Individuals picking up prescriptions are sometimes also asked for identification.

I am always thankful that the cashier or teller is looking out for me and ensuring that I am who I say I am and am old enough to know how to utilize the item I am purchasing.

I was surprised to recently hear someone object to being asked to produce ID, when making a purchase at a local post office. To that individual, being asked to show identification was annoying; she was in a hurry and it took extra time out of her day.

I heard a patron of my bank reprimand a teller for asking to see ID, before producing the cash the customer desired. This individual stated that she believed this request was insulting, as she had been a patron of this bank for many years and should be recognized and taken at her word.

What these two individuals did not understand was that they were being asked for identification to protect them, not to slow them down or offend them.

Underage drinking is a huge problem in our country. Not only are individuals who handle the sale of alcohol, cigarette and other substances protecting their businesses from participating in illegal actions, they are doing their part to keep their underage customers from breaking the law.

Bank and credit union tellers ask for identification so they don’t hand a customer’s cash to someone else.

Pharmacists and doctors ask for identification so they do not give medications to the wrong people or perpetuate prescription drug abuse.

A few years ago, my mother had her identify stolen. Someone claiming to be her was spending her money on the other side of the country. While she was informed of the transactions, not all of them could be canceled and it was a laborious process to obtain new ID and credit/debit cards.

If everyone who had cashed out that thief had asked for identification, my mother would not have lost so much money.

Whether it be $10 or $1,000, I do not care to let someone else be spending my money without my knowledge, so I always thank people who ask to see my ID. Each request for my driver’s license is one fewer chance for an identify thief to steal from me.

Taking the extra step to sign my name to my transaction is worth it to me, and I applaud business owners who require credit card users to sign for every transaction.

The post office patron should be thankful that someone else was not waltzing away with stamps purchased on her dime. The bank patron who felt insulted by the teller should have been grateful that her hard-earned money was not just placed into the hands of a stranger.

I wish that more businesses would take the extra step to verify identify before completing credit card or banking transactions.

I recently did my own little credit card experiment and wrote “See ID” on both sides of my card. Not once in the past six months have I been asked to show any form of identification, when making a credit card purchase. That means that the people accepting my payments aren’t even looking at the card – or the signature on the back – to make sure that I am who my card says I am.

Requiring a signature for credit card transactions is added protection and should be taken seriously by those who handle any type of monetary transaction.

Thank you to the stores, banks and restaurants that safeguard our funds and identities and encourage legal behaviors. Yes, you may see my ID.


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