“I want to buy some Powerball tickets, please.”

“We need to scan your driver’s license to sell them to you,” said the Circle K clerk in Richland.


A recent company policy change has poor local clerks enforcing an intrusive step in purchasing alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets. Buyers need to run their driver’s license or state ID through the debit card machine.

It's something new for some people trying to buy tickets for the $418 million Mega Millions lottery or the $460 million Powerball jackpot.

Getty Images

When a license is scanned, it gives the information, about you listed on the card, to the company.

“Circle K was also the first retailer to adopt the use of electronic age verifiers and are placing them in all stores. These devices simplify the process of confirming the validity of an ID by reading the magnetic strip or bar code on the back of drivers’ licenses,” stated the company.

“The devices also reduce the chance of human error in calculating the purchaser's age by displaying it automatically for our clerks … Circle K's policy is to ask for proper identification from anyone who looks 30 or younger.”

It’s not just Circle K. Target was doing it and many more retailers such as Rite Aid are doing it across our country, according to an ABC news report.

They claim it is valid age identification for the stores and state liquor control boards. Many assure people only their age and very little information is collected and disposed of after the initial use.

But when we are constantly advised by law enforcement not to give away any personal identification to strangers or unnecessarily to a business, this comes as a shock. It can be hard to trust a big company to keep our information private.

Getty Images

It is legal for a store to require it to be a customer. But there doesn’t appear to be many protections about the company’s responsibility in collecting it from us.

There are laws protecting us if a hacker steals it, or if a company employee uses it for identity theft, but it could be disseminated without our permission.

Who would want the information scanned at a business?

“They're called data brokers, and they are collecting, analyzing and packaging some of our most sensitive personal information and selling it as a commodity...to each other, to advertisers, even the government, often without our direct knowledge. Much of this is the kind of harmless consumer marketing that's been going on for decades,” wrote CBS Correspondent Steve Kroft.

“But today we are giving up more and more private information online without knowing that it's being harvested and personalized and sold to lots of different people ... our likes and dislikes, our closest friends, our bad habits, even your daily movements, both on and offline. Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill says we have lost control of our most personal information,” Kroft wrote.

Getty Images

It can be hard to avoid having your license information scanned by a store if you want to be a customer of a business that demands it. The only choice is to go somewhere else and find a business not scanning drivers’ licenses.

Most privacy advisors suggest avoiding company offers to sign up for fliers, coupons or discounts in exchange for information. The information is often sold to data brokers.

If you don’t like having your license scanned, it means you should get your lottery tickets and beer somewhere else. When a company starts losing business over a practice, it tends to change to bring us back.