Hollyrock principal used ID reader to validate proof of age upon entry, later used stored address information to send marketing materials

UTICA, N.Y. (October 29, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has stopped an area bar manager from using an identification verification scanner to retrieve addresses and personal information for the purpose of sending out unsolicited marketing materials.

Through an agreement with Attorney General Cuomo’s Office, Matthew S. Demar, managing employee of the Hollyrock bar, located on Varick St. in Utica, must stop using the scanner in such a manner, destroy the personal information he wrongfully obtained and pay a $5,000 penalty to the state.

“This individual improperly used the personal information of customers to promote his business,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “By doing so, he violated state law regarding the use of personal information and now must stop this practice and destroy the records he illegally obtained.”

Demar employed a scanner to check the validity of a person’s identification. However, the scanner also has the ability to store and retrieve the information read.

New York state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Law permits the use of a scanner only to determine whether a person is 21 years of age or older as a precondition for the purchase of an alcoholic beverage. The statute prohibits the resale or dissemination of the information to any third person and it prohibits using that information for any advertising or marketing.

Attorney General Cuomo’s investigation determined that Demar collected the name, address, date of birth, gender, driver’s license number and expiration date of more than 5,000 individuals. Demar then sent a pamphlet advertising various events at Hollyrock to these former patrons.

Attorney General Cuomo urges all consumers to be cautious with their personal information to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. Tips and important information can be found online at www.oag.state.ny.us/bureaus/consumer_frauds/identity_theft.html.Utica-area Consumers who believe they are being defrauded or wrongly targeted by any business may contact the Utica regional office by calling 315-793-2225.

The Hollyrock case was handled by Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge of the Utica Regional Office Joel Marmelstein.