Why Store Clerks Ask For Your ZIP Code?

April 1, 2013
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Have you ever thought about saying “no” when a store clerk asks for your ZIP code after you paid for merchandise with a credit card?

According to a consumer column at CNBC, you will end up with less junk mail by declining to provide your ZIP code.

While some stores use ZIP codes for demographic studies to determine where their customers live, others use it for marketing purposes.

Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit watchdog group based in San Diego, Calif., said in the article that at many stores they use the information to send you catalogs.

“When paired with your name, it can help the merchant figure out your mailing address, phone number and specific demographic information, Stephens noted.” He also said stores can then sell your information to data brokers.
“Two states have now declared that the practice violates their privacy laws. Last week, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that a ZIP code amounts to “personal identification information.” The California Supreme Court made a similar ruling in 2011,” says the article.

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