BY ART COOMBS
Published in Connections Magazine.
It’s a typical Sunday afternoon, and Jane is headed to the grocery store to pick up a few items for the week. She completes her shopping and heads to the checkout lane, where she meets Nathan, the clerk who is eager to help her with her grocery purchase.
After the usual question, asking if she found everything okay, Nathan provides Jane with her total shopping bill. He then asks if she will pay with cash or card, and she says, “Debit card, please.”
Nathan hits a button and says, “Okay, go ahead and read your card number to me while I type it into my register.” Jane is uncomfortable with this. After all, her credit card number is personal information. However, without another option (and she really needs to get the groceries home to make dinner), she quietly reads the card number to Nathan. As the line of customers builds behind her, Nathan then reads the card number back to her to make sure he entered it correctly. The people behind Jane all lean in a little closer and listen as this critical sequence of numbers is read aloud.
The transaction continues, and Jane becomes even more uneasy when she is asked to give the expiration date, the billing zip code, and the three-digit code on the back of the card. All of her sensitive information is now “out there,” and the people in line behind her, as well as Nathan, all have an opportunity to lift her number. As consumers, we never know where or when a fraudster might try to use our data.
Jane receives her receipt, heads to the car, and loads up her groceries. When she gets home, she puts an alert on her card because of her concern after the payment experience in the grocery store.
Now, this story is highly unlikely in today’s world.