Tuesday, October 02, 2012

"We Make Identity Theft Easy"

(Or, "A Horrifying Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum")

When was the last time that something happened right in front of your face, and you literally could not believe your eyes?

Something like that happened to me yesterday, and I thought I'd share it with all of you.

With all of the privacy concerns present in any drugstore, especially around the pharmacy, what I saw at a local branch of a very large national change just blew me away.

I got in line, and glancing to the front of the line, I was really quite surprised to see the huge display screen that was showing everything the customer was buying.  

You know, the screen that's usually pointed at the cashier, where no one else can see it?

Yeah, that one.

Get this: This screen was pointed right at the customers in line.

I don't mean that it was pointing slightly toward us, and you could see the readout if you really tried.

It was pointing directly at us.

At first, I kind of chuckled that everyone in line could see what you were buying.   After all, there are some sensitive items sold in any drugstore.

But hey, it's not the 1940s, and you don't have to pretend you're there to get ice cream while you work up the nerve to buy condoms.

(Can't believe that clip's not on YouTube!)

So no big deal, right?


The customer right in front of me had quite a few items and had forgotten her loyalty card.  The cashier was nice enough to mention to the customer that if she punched her phone number into the credit card reader (which other customers could not see), she could get credit for these purchases on her card.

Fair enough.

So the customer did just that, and when the info came up on the big screen, it listed two names.  The customer said which of the two she was, the cashier hit a button....

... and then, displayed for everyone in line to see and in HUGE FREAKING FONT, was the following:

--- Her full name, including middle name  (often used as security word for credit card info)

--- Her full address

--  Her date of birth

All I had to do was raise my phone, take a pic, and I would have walked away with all her personal info.

This was without even trying.   The entire cashier station was actually built knowing that any info on that screen would be visible to all.

Now that's a full-service pharmacy!

Seriously, in a world where we practically have to wear earplugs or headphone while waiting in line for Claratin, I can't believe this company actually designed the station that way.

That's the kind of thing that keeps LifeLock busy, I guess!

Chris B.

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