Can I get your number?

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Ryan Forsythe’

I spent some extra time on the Metro this morning (left my computer at home, only to realize it once I got to my desk. ugh.) and for once, I read both the Express AND the Examiner. What caught my eye this morning was the lead story in The Examiner – staff members from some of DC’s restaurants have been committing identity fraud by taking credit card information from customers.

Timely, since I’ve recently started paying close attention to my reciepts. I’ve started regularly checking for my credit card number to be printed on the copies of my reciepts along with the expiration date, and making sure to scribble it out. I’ve noticed it in tons of places – Guajillo, Summer’s Sports Bar, to name my most recent two – but not just at restaurants – Tschiffely Pharmacy in Union Station does it too. I take the time to scratch out my numbers and expiration date, but I imagine I’m the exception.

Where have you noticed this? Do you scratch out your numbers?

Katie moved to DC in 2007, and has since embarked upon a love affair with the city. She’s an education reform advocate and communications professional during the day; at night and on the weekends, she’s an owner here at We Love DC. Katie has high goals to eat herself through the entire city, with only her running shoes to save her from herself. For up-to-the-minute news and reviews (among other musings), follow her on Twitter!

8 thoughts on “Can I get your number?

  1. I always scratch out the numbers on a receipt. I find it creepy that they would print the entire number – there is no need! I haven’t noticed it in DC lately, but then again I haven’t been out much (stupid economy). I never even thought to check at pharmacies and general retail stores – I usually only do it at restaurants. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Your server doesn’t need your number to be printed on your receipt to steal it. You’re handing the server your card and letting them walk away with it, usually to a location where you can’t see what they’re doing with it. It’s fairly trivial to hook a card reader up to a PDA and steal the number that way.

  3. I don’t do that, but I always check when the transaction comes through on my credit card that it’s for the correct amount. I’ve been overcharged at DC restaurants three times in the last year – two of them were clearly accidental, but unfortunately I have my doubts about the third.

  4. After our credit card number was stolen from a restaurant and some exorborant purchases (cell phones and porn — good times!) showed up within days, I always walk with the waiter to the credit card machine to watch the transaction. Some waiters get bitchy about it, but that’s not my issue. Sorry if he feels like I don’t trust him.

    Also, here’s a tip: If the credit card number is on the receipt, ink over the number AND ink across the back of the receipt. It can be easy to see the number through the back, even if you’ve crossed it out. My bank told me that, and it’s a great tip.

  5. @Tiff, yes, that is true, but that’s beyond my control unless I want to pull a Lisi and walk with them to the machine.

    @Lisi, yes, I do that – both the front AND the back, cause I’m OCD like that, but it’s true, you really can. I do swirly circles on the front and then straight lines on the back just to mess up the imprint grooves too.

  6. oh, and @Mal – if the receipt is coming out of the little swiper machine that is black and has a clear bubble cover for the receipt paper (you know what I’m talking about, i swear) then it usually prints the number. I’m pretty good about predicting now what kind of machine will do it.

  7. I was equally drawn to this story as someone who was a faithful patron of Clyde’s, one of the restaurants, for a long time.

    As far as receipts go, I usually rip up all my receipts into teeny little shreds no matter if the credit card number is on there or not.

  8. Given that there’s no personal liability on my part for this kind of thing I just don’t sweat it. The credit card companies have resisted measures like pin numbers because they don’t want anything to discourage consumers from buying, so if they’re not interested in stopping the problem why should I be?