REPORT: The real reason why store clerks may insist on getting your zip code
11:24 AM, Jun 27, 2013
3:54 PM, Jun 27, 2013
When you go shopping and the clerk asks for your zip code, they may say something like, "we'd like to know where our customers are coming from," but a report from Forbes.com says there may be a lot more to it, and it could cost you your privacy.
A growing number of retailers are jumping on the "zip code" train, because it's about all they need to get access to your home address, phone number and purchasing history.
Services like GeoCapture offer retailers the ability to get that personal information from their customers by using zip codes and the customer's name—which can be retrieved from the credit card.
This information allows retailers to improve their direct marketing campaigns, so when you receive advertisements in your mailbox, it's perfectly targeted toward your shopping preferences.
But some retailers are receiving back lash because customers say stores are becoming downright aggressive when asking for zip codes.
One California woman filed a suit against Ulta after she says management tried to trap her in the store to take back a receipt that had her personal information.
Williams-Sonoma was also sued by a customer who says she thought her zip code was needed for a credit card purchase, not to get access to her personal information.
The Supreme Court in California banned stores from requiring zip codes.
But many stores across the U.S. maintain the practice, and with some consumer database services promising retailers up to a 400 percent boost in direct marketing efforts, the zip code trend continues to grow.