I guess this has been around for a while, but I just recently started seeing it on TV, but the McGruff the Crime Dog campaign is now targeting identity theft. This probably wouldn’t be a big deal except for the way the commercial is worded it sounds like what they are showing is how identity theft works. What they show in the commercial is someone taking a camera phone picture of a credit card. Sure, that would disclose the credit card number and the name and the expiration date, but not a lot more.
Firstly, the amount of crime that camera phone skimming makes up, is got to be fractions of a percent over people swiping numbers out of trash cans at gas stations and restaurants and online identity theft. Secondly, the information you get by only looking at the front of the card is only enough to do certain types of credit card transactions - especially because it’s missing the CVV2 number. Lastly, explaining identity theft in this way is missing a rather huge issue, which is phishing and hacking databases.
While I think it’s interesting to market to kids on ways to spot one form of identity theft that there is no chance of them being able to stop, it’s unfortunate that there are no commercials targeting them on ways to protect their identity online. COPPA laws are interesting but they only apply if you are a scrupulous company. Unfortunately phishers and hackers don’t particularly care about people’s age. I dunno, it seemed like it may be doing more harm than good in explaining identity theft in this way, and misguiding people’s understanding of the real issues.