TODAY   |  March 20, 2013

Be wary of giving zip code to shops

When you’re shopping and the cashier asks for your zip code, you may want to think twice before giving it. Identity theft expert Jim Stickley explains why.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> has happened to all of us, you go to buy something with a credit card and the cashier asks may i have your zip code . you may want to think twice before giving it. jim stickley is an identity theft expert. good morning to you. the simple answer if the merchant asked me for my zip code should i say yes or no.

>> say no.

>> why is that?

>> the merchants are getting crafty. they'll take your name off the credit card and the zip code , with that information go to databases and pull your full address, phone number and e-mail and you're getting junk mail .

>> do they sometimes sell it to other third parties?

>> that's worse. sometimes they use it for themselves and sell it to third parties and ends up all over the place.

>> the national retail federation responded to us doing this story, asking for generic information helps retailers tailor merchandise, customize advertising and marketing, promotions deals and coupons and individualizes services, thus retailers may ask for general and info such as zip codes in order to better know and serve their customers.

>> sounds great but if you didn't sign up for a mailing list you shouldn't end up on one. all of the information is great to gather. you're not choosing to receive all this other stuff.

>> should you basic clay sume if a store is asking for your zip code it is going to result in junk mail from that store or worse from a third party?

>> i would at this point, yes.

>> let's talk about the was pump because a lot of times when you pay at the pump and put your credit card in, that asks for your dip code. is that a different situation?

>> it is very different. the sthats put laws saying you're no longer allowed to ask for zip codes still allow them at the pumps.

>> massachusetts and is it california the other, and they've outlawed the asking for a zip code .

>> correct. they're the first two that have done it. looks like some other states are probably going to.

>> couple other things, i'm noticing it's more common you go to the store, do you want us to e-mail you your receipt. do you have any red flags about that?

>> personally i'm on enough mailing lists already. i don't want to be on any more. if for some reason you choose i want to be on your mailing list , ask the company do you share this information? oftentimes you're not only getting on their mailing list , you get on everybody's mailing list .

>> if you ask for your receipt to be e-mailed should you assume you're on their generic list?

>> absolutely.

>> are there any other quick tips for online shopping ?

>> with online shopping the check box you can click if you want to be on their mailing list . i don't recommend checking that box.

>> good advice, thank you so