Money Monday: Giving Out ZIP Code During Purchase

Stores often ask consumers for phone numbers, email addresses or ZIP codes during purchases.

Many companies, like the German Deli, just want to know to know more about their customer base.

"Are they coming from the Mid-Cities area? Are they coming from further out?" German Deli owner Inga Bowyer said.

But not all stores' intentions are benign. Attorney Scott Perry said he's sued Williams-Sonoma, Michael's, Kohl's and more on behalf of shoppers.

"The claim is that the stores are using the pretense of using a credit card as requiring your ZIP code," he said. "What most people don't realize is there's technology now that, with a combination of your credit card, your name on the credit card and the ZIP code, they can actually find your address and get all of your information."

Stores can use that information to send you marketing materials, like catalogs and coupons.

"I don't like any of us like the feeling of being stalked by someone who wants to sell us something," Bowyer said.

Bowyer said she always asks how a retailer will use her information.

"If they don't have good explanation, I don't give them the information," she said.

Deanna's Dos - Don'ts

When you're dealing with a machine and no human is involved, Do enter your ZIP code? In that situation, entering your ZIP is a security measure.

When there's a human, you Don't have to give your ZIP, phone number or email.

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