Photos on ID cards don't guarantee security

By Joseph M. Molina
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 30, 1996

Charles C. LaBenz
Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA identification center employees Bill Hanemann (left) and Dick Schaaf stand behind a pile of ID cards that have been lost and returned to the ID center during a two-month period. Hanemann and Schaaf recommend students put a "freeze" on lost cards, which prevents the card from being used until it is turned in.


Students may have a sense of security with their photo on their identification cards, but they should be aware that vendors do not always look at the picture when students make purchases.

Heather Pederson, senior dining services supervisor at the Park Student Union, said cashiers are required to check the photograph on the cards.

Theresa Nicolls, dining services supervisor, said Union employees look at the IDs and have confiscated stolen cards in the past.

However, the Arizona Daily Wildcat went to four vendors in both the Memorial and Park Student unions and attempted purchases with a card not belonging to the purchaser. All of the Wildcat's purchases were successful and not one of the cashiers looked at t he ID to compare the person on the card with the purchaser.

"We have on-going training to fulfill our obligation to the patrons, but it helps to know where we are failing in," said Pederson in response to the Wildcat's findings.

At the "A" Place in the Memorial Student Union, a Wildcat reporter purchased food from a supervisor with someone else's ID card.

"We have weekly meetings with the supervisors and go over the policies," Nicolls said in response to the incident. "I guess we are going to have to get rougher."

The purpose of the Wildcat's investigation was to show how easy it would be to use another person's card that is not reported after it is lost or stolen.

Cards were confiscated last semester at an average of one card per week, Nicolls said. Most confiscations happen when a person lets a friend use the card, she said.

"We get some upset students because they must come and pick up their card in person," Nicolls said.

Dining services will allow a person to use a friend's card if the friend is present at the time of purchase, but Nicolls said she does not recommend this.

Many students who lose their ID cards feel like they are the only ones on campus this has happened to, but those students are not alone.

Tom Bullington, an office specialist at the Office of the Registrar, said an average of 500 cards are reported lost or stolen every month.

William Hanemann Jr, senior office specialist for identification in the Office of the Registrar, cited these examples from last year:

"This is not unusual," Hanemann said.

A concern for students who have money on their ID, with All-Aboard or Pocket Money, is that a found ID may be used by the person who finds the card.

Boyd Beckwith, program director for operations at the Park and Memorial unions, said, when a card is lost "report it immediately."

Call 621-7043, the 24-hour line or ask any cashier to lock the card, Beckwith said.

Susan Pachello, senior accounting assistant with student business affairs, said once a student reports a lost or stolen card, the time is recorded and the student is not responsible for charges after that time.

If the student does not report a lost card, the student is responsible for all charges made on the card, she said.

Beckwith said a $10 limit is put on All Aboard cards' purchasing powers at campus vending machines. After that, he said the card locks and cannot be used.

When someone attempts to use a stolen or lost card at a food merchant that accepts All Aboard, he said the card comes up stolen and will be confiscated.

Pachello said there is no limit on the card's use on registers because some students eat a lot and other students treat their friends.

On average, Beckwith said male students put from $900 to $1,200 on their All Aboard accounts per semester while females use about $700 to $900.

Beckwith said if a student finds their card after reporting it stolen, the lock must be removed in person at the All Aboard office.

After a student has lost an ID card, and reported it, Hanemann recommends the student wait two weeks before requesting a new ID.

He said a lot of students do not or cannot wait to have a new card made, but original cards are sometimes turned in a couple of days after they are lost.

Hanemann said it takes two to three days to have a new card made.

The cost for a new ID card is $10.