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By Denver Nicks
January 5, 2016
Bob Andres—Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP

Should you have the misfortune of being parent to a child who received a defective or unwanted toy from Santa Claus this year, you may be faced with the daunting prospect of returning said toy to Santa’s shop — or perhaps Toys R Us.

When you do, a clerk will ask to scan your government identification card. And if you are uncomfortable with such a step being taken and you refuse, it’s likely you’ll leave the store with no refund or exchange, and the same broken toy Santa gave your kid.

“I left the store with the defective toy car and one unhappy child,” said Susan Harper, after she refused to allow a Toys R Us in suburban Paramus, N.J., to scan her government ID while making a return, according to NJ.com.

Harper objected to the fact that though the store’s stated refund policy notifies customers that they will be required to show a valid ID, it doesn’t explicitly say that the ID will be scanned, merely that it will be “retained.” She offered to show a store clerk her ID and allow the employee to record her address and driver’s license number, but didn’t want her license scanned. That wasn’t good enough for the story, however.

“Moreover, they provide customers with zero information about what they do with your info and how it is stored,” she said. “This is misleading to the consumer, especially in a day when we all confront identity theft.”

Toys R Us responded to questions from NJ.com, explaining that the store retains ID information and gives it to The Retail Equation, a service retailers use to identify serial returners and protect against fraud.

As NJ.com notes, identity theft affected 17.6 million people in 2014, according to the Bureau of Justice. According to another study, more than $16 billion was stolen from 12.7 million identity theft victims in 2014. On the other hand, The Retail Equation says return fraud and abuse costs businesses $10.8 billion every year.

[NJ.com]

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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