Foursquare Discounts or Four or More Opportunities for Identity Theft?

foursquare now offers discounts to merchantsMany stores today offer member discounts, program rebates, and other ways of earning money back when you make a purchase at the store. This is usually done with the swipe of a key fob, member card, or giving the cashier a phone number to look up. I personally never remember to bring those with me, so I am always grateful that they can simply look my number up to apply the discount. On the other hand, who can remember every single key fob they have or know ahead of time every time they will visit a store they are a member of? I know I’m not that organized, but even if I was, I don’t relish the thought of filling a key ring with multiple fobs.

FourSquare came up with a great program to help eliminate the hassle of having to carry all those key fobs or merchant cards around. Their program allows you to sync your data so that in some cases, multiple discounts can be applied.

Here’s how it works: You sync your information with merchants who participate in the program. When you go to that store and swipe your credit card, all your information is applied. For instance if you have ecoupons, you don’t have to print them out because they are synced with your card already. You also don’t have to have your key fob for in-store discounts because they are already in sync with your card. When you consider this and the fact that most banks offer cash back incentives, it seems like this would be a great way to simplify your shopping experience.

There’s just one problem; doesn’t it also simplify the identity theft experience?

When you use technology you have to remember that it can make things less complicated, but it can also put you in danger. For instance, if you only ever used cash it would be pretty hard to take any funds from you. When you use your credit cards or bank account, you put yourself on the map for those who prowl for identity theft opportunities. With this sync, they could potentially access more information than ever before.

Even if you think your card doesn’t offer more information, it does offer more ways to access it. If your card in synced with 100 merchants, that’s 100 times more doorways from which to access your personal information rather than just the one doorway through your bank. I don’t know about you but I have a much easier time trusting the security of my credit union than I do 100 merchants.