SOUTHAVEN, MS (abc24.com) - New photo ID laws in Mississippi and Tennessee are helping cut down on more than just voter fraud, there appears to be a big side benefit.
The laws could help reduce credit card fraud and make identity theft more difficult. Those needing the new ID's are primarily seniors. They're also the number one group targeted for fraud.
Tennesseans over 60 years of age have the option to leave their photo off their driver's licenses. In Mississippi, seniors have their photos on driver's licenses, but not everyone eligible to vote has a license. That makes it easier for crooks to pass off stolen credit cards as their own.
"I think it's going to be better now that everyone has a state issued identification card whether it's a drivers license or ID now that they can match that name," said Lt. Mark Little with the Southaven Police Department.
By law, all voters in Tennessee and Mississippi must now show some sort of government-issued photo. That's at the polls, but stores have been requiring it for years.
"We check their card then look at their ID," Adam York told abc24.com. "We match their name with the expiration date just to make sure it's valid."
York's store has a strict ID policy for all credit card transactions. He told abc24.com sometimes seniors don't have one.
"One had to use their gym ID so I could match their name and credit card," said York.
"I think it's going to be beneficial to everyone having a state issued ID," Little told abc24.com. "A lot of places require it now for different reasons, and I think it will be helpful in the long run. Fraud's not just in Southaven. It's in Shelby County and all the surrounding areas."
Police acknowledge a big part of the law's effectiveness depends on whether or not businesses check customer ID's.