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Criminal case highlights one of the risks of frequent shopper cards

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Criminal case highlights one of the risks of frequent shopper cards

Old 02-21-05, 02:14 AM
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Criminal case highlights one of the risks of frequent shopper cards

http://www.computerbytesman.com/privacy/safewaycard.htm

Tukwila, Washington firefighter, Philip Scott Lyons found out the hard way that supermarket loyalty cards come with a huge price. Lyons was arrested last August and charged with attempted arson. Police alleged at the time that Lyons tried to set fire to his own house while his wife and children were inside. According to the KOMO-TV and the Seattle Times, a major piece of evidence used against Lyons in his arrest was the record of his supermarket purchases that he made with his Safeway Club Card. Police investigators had discovered that his Club Card was used to buy fire starters of the same type used in the arson attempt.

For Lyons, the story did have a happy ending. All charges were dropped against him in January 2005 because another person stepped forward saying he set the fire and not Lyons. Lyons is now back at work after more than 5 months of being on administrative leave from his firefighter job.

The moral of this story is that even the most innocent database can be used against a person in a criminal investigation turning their lives completely upside down.

Safeway needs to be more up-front with customers about the potential downsides of shopper cards. They should also provide the details of their role in the arrest or Mr. Lyons and other criminal cases in which the company provided Club Card purchase information to police investigators.

Here is how Safeway currently describes their Club Card program in the Club Card application:

We respect your privacy. Safeway does not sell or lease personally identifying information (i.e., your name, address, telephone number, and bank and credit card account numbers) to non-affiliated companies or entities. We do record information regarding the purchases made with your Safeway Club Card to help us provide you with special offers and other information. Safeway also may use this information to provide you with personally tailored coupons, offers or other information that may be provided to Safeway by other companies. If you do not wish to receive personally tailored coupons, offers or other information, please check the box below. Must be at least 18 years of age.
Links to news stories:

#Firefighter Arrested For Attempted Arson, August 28, 2004
http://www.komotv.com/stories/32785.htm

#Fireman attempted to set fire to house, charges say, October 6, 2004
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm..._arson06m.html

#Tukwila Firefighter Cleared Of Arson Charges, January 28, 2005
http://www.komotv.com/news/story.asp?ID=35019
Old 02-21-05, 02:32 AM
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This is why you should exchange those cards with people every so often. And always fill out false info when getting them too. Kroger thinks I'm a 53 year old black woman, for example.
Old 02-21-05, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Otto
This is why you should exchange those cards with people every so often. And always fill out false info when getting them too. Kroger thinks I'm a 53 year old black woman, for example.
you aren't?
Old 02-21-05, 04:59 AM
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i searched for 20 minutes for a thread I had about frequent buyer cards but couldn't find it. Perhaps it got purged. We had a lengthy discussion about them. It was interesting reading. Wish I could find it because there were some links on it I'd want to see again.

Anyway - frequent shopper cards - I'm against them.
Old 02-21-05, 07:47 AM
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I hate them, I never used my real name or anything when filling them out
Old 02-21-05, 08:02 AM
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how can you get around the address? If you give them your address they send you TONS of junk mail.
Old 02-21-05, 08:03 AM
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Fake name, fake address, fake phone number here.

I'm glad that once I move to Florida in a few weeks, I can do all my shopping at Publix, which at least as of last year didn't have these stupid cards.
Old 02-21-05, 08:44 AM
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but they mail you your card so you have to have a working address
Old 02-21-05, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by glassdragon
you aren't?
Nope, he's a 54 year old black woman. Smart girl, that Otto. Always throwing people off her tracks.
Old 02-21-05, 08:52 AM
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I seem to remember Safeway being involved in another case, where the authorities wanted to see if an individual suspected of making meth had bought a lot of cold medicine. In that case, as I recall, Safeway fought the subpeona and won. I wonder why they turned over the info in this particular situation?

There's also a similar case regarding a bookseller in Denver and the selling of "how to" books on drug cultivation. Again, the bookseller fought the subpeona and won.

The reality is, even if you don't use a preferred card they can still get this information if you used a credit/debit card. If you pay with cash, there's always register receipts and cameras.

I've noticed that EVERYBODY seems to have these cards anymore, not just grocery stores. It seems the trend isn't going away anytime soon.
Old 02-21-05, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Save Ferris
but they mail you your card so you have to have a working address
You don't need the card - use your fake phone number instead.
Old 02-21-05, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
I seem to remember Safeway being involved in another case, where the authorities wanted to see if an individual suspected of making meth had bought a lot of cold medicine. In that case, as I recall, Safeway fought the subpeona and won. I wonder why they turned over the info in this particular situation?

There's also a similar case regarding a bookseller in Denver and the selling of "how to" books on drug cultivation. Again, the bookseller fought the subpeona and won.

The reality is, even if you don't use a preferred card they can still get this information if you used a credit/debit card. If you pay with cash, there's always register receipts and cameras.

I've noticed that EVERYBODY seems to have these cards anymore, not just grocery stores. It seems the trend isn't going away anytime soon.

wal mart never had them and has no plans to implement them
Old 02-21-05, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by WildcatLH
Fake name, fake address, fake phone number here.

I'm glad that once I move to Florida in a few weeks, I can do all my shopping at Publix, which at least as of last year didn't have these stupid cards.
Publix is still cardless, but you may end up having Albertson's be a more convenient store, and they have cards. SuperTargets down here have pretty good prices too, tho. So you have options.
Old 02-21-05, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Duran
You don't need the card - use your fake phone number instead.
Some of checkout ladies get pissy if you dont use an actual card.
Old 02-21-05, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Save Ferris
Some of checkout ladies get pissy if you dont use an actual card.
I've never had anyone get pissy, but I use self-checkout the majority of the time.
Old 02-21-05, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
wal mart never had them and has no plans to implement them
All hail WAL*MART! Finally, a store that looks out for it's customers!
Old 02-21-05, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by WildcatLH
Fake name, fake address, fake phone number here.

I'm glad that once I move to Florida in a few weeks, I can do all my shopping at Publix, which at least as of last year didn't have these stupid cards.
Publix doesn't card, but they don't do double/triple coupons either like they do in Georgia.
Old 02-21-05, 11:09 AM
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Some friends of mine and I swap them whenever we get together. Not a big concern for me, however. If they nail me for some crime in Seattle, it is pretty easy to prove that I wasn't there.

And I get a kick out of the fact that I write a check with my name on it, yet they still insist on saying, "Have a nice day, Mr. Range"
Old 02-21-05, 11:16 AM
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One big advantage of Albertson's Preferred card: There's a box at the bottom that you can check that says you want the card but do not want to give out any information.

Makes it very easy... check the box, hand them a blank application and they give you a card.
Old 02-21-05, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by TomOpus
One big advantage of Albertson's Preferred card: There's a box at the bottom that you can check that says you want the card but do not want to give out any information.

Makes it very easy... check the box, hand them a blank application and they give you a card.
that's what I've done every time I've shopped there. I also leave the card on the counter when I leave because I don't want to carry it with me and it's my little act of defiance against their card policy adoption.
Old 02-21-05, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Trigger
that's what I've done every time I've shopped there. I also leave the card on the counter when I leave because I don't want to carry it with me and it's my little act of defiance against their card policy adoption.
You can also just say "I forgot my card." They keep one behind the counter that they'll use instead.
Old 02-21-05, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Trigger
that's what I've done every time I've shopped there. I also leave the card on the counter when I leave because I don't want to carry it with me and it's my little act of defiance against their card policy adoption.


That'll show them.
Old 02-21-05, 01:42 PM
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I use Bel-Air, which has no cards.
Old 02-21-05, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
wal mart never had them and has no plans to implement them
I suspect that has more to do with so few of their regular customers owning a phone or even having a permanent address than with some philanthropic corporate philosophy.
Old 02-21-05, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
You can also just say "I forgot my card." They keep one behind the counter that they'll use instead.
I tried that at first and even talked to the manager about it and she assured me they would always keep a card behind the counter for such purposes... Then months later, they refused to let me use a behind the counter card saying they didn't have those. *shrug* I don't care - I'll just keep making them give me cards until they run out and then I'll pee a little bit in all the orange juices.

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