They did an exposé on credit cards and those electronic signature pads last night on UPN 29 news. They determined that technology is making credit card fraud easier.
They took a few teenagers and sent them shopping with their parents and teaches credit cards; with permission of course. They shopped at places like Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Home Depot and other stores. Each person used a credit card that wasn’t theirs and signed with either their name or someone else’s. Some signed as Madonna or Michael Jordan, others just drew an X. They even drew pictures like houses and flowers on the signature pads. No one cared. Not one student was denied their purchase or even questioned about the signature. Why? Most stores don’t even look at the signature let alone have any contact with the credit card. Some did look at the signature, but still didn’t notice that this teenage girl wasn’t Michael Jordan.
It’s sad really. The stores just care that the credit card went though and don’t care who signed it, or how pretty the picture they drew was. They claim that as long as the credit card is approved, the card must be in its owners hands. They leave security up to the credit card company, and, in the end, they only people who really loose out is the card owners when someone steals their card. Sure credit card companies say you are not liable, however, I’m sure it’s not as easy as they make it sound.
I was very interested in this special as we often wonder how it’s legal. I mean some places don’t even ask for a signature anymore. The other day at Target I signed my name ‘artistically’. Meaning it didn’t look anything like my actual signature, I just had fun and made it look pretty. It was no surprise that no one cared.
So what does the future hold? Well there better be some better credit card security coming, however I doubt we’ll see it anytime soon. Signatures are pretty easy to compare and it’s so easy and quick to do, however retailers feel it’s a waste of time or not their job. The only thing we can really do is just watch our credit cards closely and make sure we don’t loose any.