I’ve really got a problem with some television commercials that have been airing lately. I’ll just talk about the one that I saw most recently. It is showing both on TV (I saw it tonight during American Idol) as well as before movies in theaters (I saw it before There Will be Blood). It is for the Visa Check Card.
The set up is pretty simple. A couple is standing in line buying their movie tickets. They notice that their movie is going to start in only a few minutes and the theater suddenly becomes a mad house. Everyone is racing around trying to get to the theater in time to not miss a moment. Everyone is going through the concession line and swiping their card and running to the movie. The couple reaches the line and the man looks for cash and can’t find any. The problem, the commercial says, is that he is now slowing everything down. His wife whips out her Visa check card and swipes it and the two race off, making their movie in time.
What the commercial does not show is that the woman stole the Visa check card from someone who left their purse sitting on the table in her cafeteria at work while getting a refill. Then she used this woman’s check card to make numerous purchases, destroying her credit and damaging her name. Thank God, these commercials show that as long as you use the Visa check card things run so smoothly and quickly that no one bothers to ask for an ID. That is what the commercials show – use the Visa check card so life won’t slow you down.
Ever since the first one I saw a while back, the entire purpose is that if you use the Visa check card everything moves quick. No one checks an ID, because that would defeat the purpose of the commercial.
Last December, someone broke into the storage room behind my condo and stole my wife’s old checkbooks. She had two accounts before we married and the person who stole them also stole her old driver’s license. I learned my lesson and now use a public storage facility with a big ass lock on the door. Lesson was learned too late because the person who stole the checks and driver’s license went out and wrote close to $1000 worth of checks and the people never even took the time to see that it was not her picture on the ID. We went to the tag agency and changed her license number, put a fraud alert on her credit report and reported all the checks we began to receive to the local police. Lucky, I am pretty anal about checking our account balances every morning and caught it when the first check came through. We think we have everything under control as the check collection agencies have agreed that it was fraud. I am not sure it will ever be completely over as I saw a news story about how these agencies sell their bad accounts and people will get collection notices years down the line. At least we know for now that no check has been written since late December and we did not lose any money out of pocket. Only bad thing is the thief was never caught.
To say that someone can write a check using someone else’s ID at places like Homeland, Del Rancho and Wal Mart’s gas station is bad enough. To realize that these Visa check card commercials are actually pretty accurate is another thing. Think about it. How many times are you asked to show your ID when you use a credit or debit card at Wal Mart? At the movie theater? At the local pub? Recently I have implemented a personal policy. At the bar I work at I ID everyone to drink. It is the law and I won’t lose my job because someone thinks they look over 30. After making their drinks, if they hand me a credit card, I ask to see the ID again and compare the names on the card. It annoys some people, but fuck them. I explain that my wife was recently a victim of identity theft and ask if they would be so annoyed if someone stole their credit card and I did not check their ID. That usually shuts them up. But, then again, others are just stupid bitches who don’t think it will ever happen to them.
I just feel that these commercials are very irresponsible. They preach that it is better to move fast and get in and out as quick as possible then to be safe. Maybe they don’t see it that way, but that is the way I saw it even before it happened to us. The ad campaign is flawed and needs to be changed. It almost plays as a how to for identity thieves and that just really pisses me off.