Some GameStop stores in the city of Philadelphia have begun to require customers to provide fingerprint scans if they want to trade-in their used games. Now that may sound a bit strange but 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. The Philadelphia Police Department has said that the fingerprints are uploaded onto the online database Leads Online.
Anti-theft measures like this could rub the 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. 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, localized requirements stem from the fact that GameStops are legally classified as pawn shops in certain areas because of the trade-in program. This means that a 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 state-by-state, and city-by-city. GameStop locations in Chicago and New York City require customers trading in games to provide a state ID or driver’s license. A GameStop representative has said 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 U.S., depending on local or statewide second-hand dealer or pawn broker laws.”