GameStop Now Fingerprints People Who Trade In Games

GameStop Now Fingerprints People Who Trade In Games

Some GameStop stores in the US city of Philadelphia have begun to require customers to provide fingerprint scans if they wish to trade-in their used games. The new requirement is intended to serve as a anti-theft measure that can help local authorities track criminals who use GameStop stores as pawn shops.

An employee at one GameStop in the city told Kotaku that the new anti-crime measure has been in effect for about a month. GameStop stores in the city received a mandate from GameStop’s corporate headquarters after Philadelphia police requested they implement harsher security measures.

The employee said that GameStop customers at these locations are no longer allowed to trade-in games if they don’t provide a fingerprint scan. The Philadelphia Police Department told CBS Philadelphia that the fingerprints are uploaded onto the online database Leads Online.

Local customers interviewed by CBS Philadelphia weren’t happy about the enhanced security measures, saying that it made them feel like they were being treated like criminals. You can listen to the full story here:

Anti-theft measures like this often rub average customers the wrong way. But the new requirement for GameStop’s retail locations in the city isn’t anything new or groundbreaking in and of itself. Gamers have been commenting about their frustration with these anti-theft policies online since 2009, if not earlier. A Polygon report from 2012 detailed how ten states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia all “require businesses to meticulously detail the used gaming habits of their customers and share that information with police.”

These specific, localised requirements stem from the fact that GameStops are legally classified as pawn shops in certain areas because of the chain’s trade-in program. This means that a given retail location is subject to the same state or city-specific regulations that other pawn shops in the area are held to.

Specific requirements vary on a state-by-state, and city-by-city basis. GameStop employees at locations in Chicago and New York City told me over the phone today that stores in their respective cities require customers trading in games to provide a state ID or driver’s licence.

Update: A GameStop representative told me in an email that the fingerprint scanning is “a process that we’ve recently implemented (starting in early July) in Philadelphia area stores at the request of the Philadelphia police department.” She also said that fingerprint scanning “is a practice we’ve also put into place in other parts of the US, depending on local or statewide second-hand dealer or pawn broker laws.”

via GameSpot

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  • As some one how works at a pawn shop. 100 points of id and correct recording s of serials and details is enough.

    There are 2 big problems though. Ebgames employs young teenagers who either don’t give a shit or haven’t developed enough world knowledge to spot and turn away thieves.

    The other problem is the general public are absolutely useless when it comes to recording their own serial numbera or engraving items. My god everyone go out now and write down your damn serial numbers and take photos of your items.

    • Used to work for cashies. It taught me to keep a record of all my valuables and their serials. Id say a good 99 percent of people dont. The fingerprint will be a good implementation but I can see immediate drawbacks to it.

        • Fingerprinting upon trading will give the police a record of your prints. It will be a twofold advantage. Identity theft is safeguarded against and it makes fraud easier to detect. Far safer than documents which arent hard to forge

        • I assumed it would be more like:

          – House gets robbed, police can fingerprint the scene
          – Print has no matches, goes into system
          – Game is traded in, print taken
          – Print of trade in (Along with 100 points of ID) allows identification of thief from the first crime scene.

          Of course I don’t think the police here used to print with minor robberies. At least if I’m recalling this first time we got robbed when I was a kid.

          Curious what you’d consider the other drawbacks though @weresmurf, I would have thought privacy and complicated the process would be the only major ones.

          • Fingerprints are very rarely picked up. Had my house done over a long time ago and none were deemed good enough.

            Also without serial numbers recorded by the owner, finger print or no, good luck proving it’s yours.

          • So to be useful the police would need to pick up the prints for these kinds of crimes.

            Though why would you need to prove the game is yours? Wouldn’t you just use the print to prove he was in your house when you were robbed and if he’s a stranger prove he was the culprit?

            Not sure how reimbursements for stolen goods are actually handled in situations like that.

          • You still have to prove it is yours though. It could have been taken from a different house. Or could even be his.

            Long story short. Record your damn serial numbers!!!

          • Again I’m not sure why it would really matter, if you reported something stolen and this system tracked down who stole it wouldn’t they be liable to replace the item?

            I suppose if they insisted that wasn’t the exact game then they’d just have to reimburse the cost of replacement right? My point was more that once they’re liable you can hold them responsible.

            Also, do games actually have serial numbers? Or are you referring to consoles?

          • Only incidental ones such as customers complaining about being fingerprinted etc. Sounds silly but it will be the number one complaint guaranteed. Fact is though if you want to sell and you are honest, you will do it. Mainly it can really just come down to people being difficult lol. Im all for this system personally.

          • I would have to agree simply because I would prob complain lol.
            I’m no criminal or anything, there’s just something I don’t like about the idea of putting my finger prints in the system. Not for any tin foil hat reasons, just because we have been inching toward those tin foil hat reasons for years.

          • You give your:
            Credit card/eft details if youve used eftpod
            All other personal details that can be used to commit fraud.

            Your finger print is one of the things you should be happy about since you cant fake it.

          • My fingerprint is also one of the things I can’t revoke and replace when GameStop’s security is compromised.

          • @Matt_Phipps If you looked into it, the fingerprint goes back to the police department. It’s a pawnbroking service, you’re not required to use it. You don’t get asked for one when you buy brand new. Pawnbroking services have been using majorly flawed identification systems for years now (I’ve worked in the industry before) and are surprisingly easy to get around with faked ID. The fingerprint will be linked to a singular account disallowing someone to constantly bring in faked ID and use multiple accounts to sell different items at different gamestops.

            Bob and James have trade games one week, around two thousand dollars worth… oddly enough across Brisbane a bunch of houses have been broken into and a bunch of games have been stolen but there’s no evidence to catch the person who did it. All of a sudden… guess what? The same fingerprint pops up a second time in the EB/Gamestop store. Beforehand there was nothing to tie all both the accounts together, even a camera, which wasn’t able to see the faces due to a simple hat defeating it, or the fact noone would ever check unless they brought both the recordings from seperate stores together and checked. But now, a singular fingerprint gives absolute, irrefutable evidence that the same person did all this due to the fact: No two fingerprints are the same. The games are checked, they find out they’re the same ones stolen, serial numbers checked too, and the person is identified and caught. Because a finger print is taken.

            That’s how this sort of stuff can safeguard second hand trading, it’s an idyllic situation but it does work.

          • As someone who’s usually against stuff like this… i’m surprisingly not too fussed.. if anything I’m actually all for it.

            Had my home broken in years ago and a majority of collection was taken along w/ my PS2. I was playing the .Hack games at the time and no.2 was in the console. They snatched the console but the case and dvd for no.2 was one of the precious few games that wasn’t snatched. Sure enough a few weeks later I notice EBGames selling a preowned copy of .Hack no.2 No case, no DVD or nothing. JUST *THE* DISK. The coincidence was too much and they said someone only just recently traded it in w/ some other games but no actual records. Unfortunately I didn’t have any proof nor did i have serial numbers at the time =/ I “repurchased” the game for collectors sake… it was very cheap since .Hack wasn’t a big game but it’s still annoying having to “rebuy” your own stolen game =/

            If this in anyway reduces/tracks down resale of stolen goods then go for it xD

    • The third problem is that EB (in Australia, at least) will happily take stolen items. So long as the customer gives their details and signs on the piece of paper, they honestly don’t care where it came from.
      Local reprobates used to steal games by the stack from Target then come and trade them at the EB I worked at on their way out of the mall. We knew full well what was going on but the manager’s attitude was, “did they sign? Yes? Then take them.”

      • It is sad isn’t it?
        My mother in her shop will get people coming in with credit cards that are not their own and even the signature was pathetically far from close and the manager would just go “so what let them take their items they are paid for”. The system is not the issue it is the lazy attitude of people. No system ever works unless people put it in practice.

  • The day they ask me for my fingerprint at a shop is the day I walk out and never come back. Why should I be treated like a friggin’ criminal.

    • I agree to a point. This lowest common denominator society shits me. Oh 2 of 100 people do something wrong so lets make everything suck for everyone. Wankers in charge are all wankers.

  • That’s a nice land of the free you have there, would be a shame if something happened to it.

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