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Consumer Data Mining, What Retailers Can Find With Your Zip Code

Updated: Monday, November 4 2013, 06:25 PM EST

What's your zip code? It's a simple question with a simple answer. But you might want to think twice before giving it out.

Knowing your name and zip code allows a retailer to easily find a shopper's phone number, email address and home address so they can send junk mail and also sell addresses to other marketers.

Data companies can figure out individual spending patterns and even intimate details such as if a shopper is pregnant, getting married, selling a house or whether they smoke cigarettes. With this information, not only can retailers use it to track what a shopper has bought, but they'll even use it to predict what they will buy in the future.

A shopper never has to turn over their zip code at the checkout counter. In fact credit card companies say their card owners only 'have to' turn over a form of identification if the store associate asks for it.

There are very few reasons to share any type of personal information with retailers and consumer advocates advise just saying ‘no' when asked to give information beyond what is necessary for a transaction.

Consumer Data Mining, What Retailers Can Find With Your Zip Code

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Washington Times