When it comes to paying with plastic at the cash register, you know the drill. A quick swipe, a signature and the contents of your shopping cart are yours. But sometimes the cashier asks for one more thing:
“May I have your ZIP code, please?”
You may think it’s necessary to complete the transaction or it may seem like a harmless piece of information to give out, so you go ahead and reveal it.
But that simple decision can result in more junk mail heading your way and more telemarketers disrupting your day, said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit watchdog group based in San Diego, Calif.
So what’s a credit card customer to do when a merchant asks for a ZIP code at the cash register?
“Just say no,” Stephens advised.
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.
To find out why privacy advocates are concerned CLICK HERE.