In the fight against identity theft, one local business is making an effort to make it more difficult for those that try to use debit cards not belonging to them. 

Racheal Yates, manager of the $1 Jewelry Galore, store said she has instituted a policy in her store and is hoping more local businesses adopt in an effort to keep their customers safe. 

Yates and her staff require customers to show them their driver’s license so they can write the last four digits of the license on the printed receipt that the store keeps when a customer uses their debit or credit card. By having to show a photo ID, the customer can be identified as the proper owner of the card and the measure also limits who can use the card. 

Yates said the new policy helps protect the business as well.

"We had a lot of charges that we had to return to various banks from people who stated that they had not been the one to use their card in the store, which can get costly," she said. "This helps us cut down on fraud charges or returned sales because we know exactly who used the debit or credit card and when."

Det. Jason Cameron of the Conway Police Department said this policy is one that he appreciates both as a customer and as a member of law enforcement. Cameron was made aware of the policy when he accompanied his wife into the store and attempted to make a purchase.

"My wife and I had gone into the store to pick something up for our daughter to take to a birthday party, and when it was time to check out, we paid with our debit card and we were asked for a driver’s license," he said. "It was a surprise to have someone be that thorough and it seemed like a great idea that would help cut down on criminals being able to use a debit or credit card that they have stolen. I think this would be a great way for business owners to help protect their customers and to help cut down on identity thefts."

Eric King, public relations officer for Centennial Bank, said the practice of asking to see a customer’s driver’s license is an extra security that businesses can use that banks have been using for some time.

"If someone wants to write a check, we ask to see some identification because we need to know they are who they say they are," he said. "This practice is assisted with a program we use to put a face to the customer we are helping. We ask our customers to come in and have their picture taken if they haven’t already so we can be sure that when we deal with them at the window or in the bank, we know we have the right customer. It is another form of identification and there is nothing wrong with taking extra security measures."

However, according to Yates, not all of her customers appreciate the new measure she has in place.

"We have people become upset when we ask to see their license, but I’d rather have them inconvenienced for the few seconds it takes to show me the license then the ordeal of having to try to get their money bank when someone has stolen it by using their own debit card," she said. "Some people walk out of the store without their purchases, but those cases are becoming less frequent."

(Candie Beck is a staff writer and can be reached at 505-1238 or at candie.beck@thecabin.net)