8 on Your Side: Some Retailers Seek Customer Zip Codes - 8 News NOW

8 on Your Side: Some Retailers Seek Customer Zip Codes

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LAS VEGAS - Your zip code doesn't just tell retailers where you live. When you make a purchase, retailers can use your zip code to figure out your address, phone number and purchasing history. It's one method businesses use to sharpen their marketing pitches.

Stores want your zip code because, combined with your name from your credit card, they can use it to find out other information about you from commercial databases. They may even sell the information to data brokers, who sell it to other marketers. The result can be unwanted catalogs and other junk mail.

Court rulings in California and Massachusetts state stores can't require customers to give up their zip codes, but no such rulings have happened in Nevada. So, retailers can freely ask for your zip code, but that doesn't mean you have to provide it.

Zip codes are not required for transactions, unless you are at a gas station pump or using an American Express card. American Express allows merchants to use zip codes to verify a shopper's identity.

If a retailer asks for your zip code, you can refuse. Some stores have, however, reportedly denied sales without that information. Another option is to give a zip code that is different from yours or simply fabricate one.

If you have any other holiday shopping questions or wish to have a problem investigated, contact 8 on Your Side at 702-650-1907.

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