For some time, the financial services giant Citigroup has produced a widely-acclaimed series of seriocomic advertisements about identity theft in which an unlucky person speaks with the voice of an identity thief. While the threat of identity theft remains a growing problem for the credit card industry, it is not an isolated matter. Until now, Brandeis-issued identification cards were an easy target for clever villains.The old cards featured magnetic strips encoded with a student's 9-digit Social Security number. Lost cards could not be deactivated, creating the risk of someone finding another student's card and using it as his own. Even more treacherous was the prospect of a thief acquiring a card reader to alter the Social Security number on a card.

These dangers should be abated with the new cards. Instead of Social Security numbers, the new cards will function on a 15-digit unique identity number and improved encryption technology to prevent tampering. Moreover, the cards, if lost, can be deactivated to prevent the risk of a thief abusing others' identities for on-campus purposes.

Of course, student identification cards primarily ensure the security of meal plans which are minor compared to credit card accounts. But the strengthened identity security is, nonetheless, welcome.