Guard Your Zip Code

Guard Your Zip Code

It probably happens to you every time you go shopping: During checkout, the cashier asks, "May I have your zipcode?"

An identify theft expert interviewed on Today says that you're better off just saying no.

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As it turns out, many retailers take the name on your credit card and your zip code to look up your full address, phone number and email address in order to add you to their email and mailing lists. Even worse, they can sell your information to third-party companies, resulting in a deluge of spam in your inbox and your mailbox.

Retailers defend the practice by saying that learning information about their individual customers helps them better cater to their customers' wants and needs. But some states are taking action to protect to consumers: Massachusetts and California have both outlawed the zip code question.

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