These days, you can’t escape a retailer unscathed. Some places ask for your phone number at checkout, others want your email address. The really intrusive ones want your ZIP code.
In all of these cases, a simple “no thanks” is necessary, or you could be a victim of identity fraud.
According to the mobile marketing company LocalVox, 67% of customers give their email addresses to companies to receive discounts and promotions. So what’s the big deal? You give out your email address and get a 20% off coupon for your next purchase, but what’s that deal going to really cost you?
Be Careful Who You Share Your Information With
If you don’t specifically know who you’re giving your email to and what they’re planning on doing with it, your safest bet is to pass on the offer. One reason for that is the potential for email scams.
Identity fraud from email is a growing trend. The total number of phishing attacks (the act of sending an email to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user) increased by 59% from 2011 to 2012. And the growth of phishing attacks continued to rise in 2013 and beyond.
Having just your email may not directly lead to identity fraud, however, it’s the first step. The email you give to a retailer gets fed into a large database, especially with corporate companies. Once it’s in a database, access to your email address typically increases—oftentimes from companies that have offers you didn’t opt into.
All it takes is the creation of one spam email that looks as if it’s from your bank or utility company, and you’re in trouble.
Retailers get even more invasive when they ask for your ZIP code. Most companies use your ZIP code for marketing and promotions. Retailers also use it to perform analytical analysis on the information. All it takes is the name they get from a credit-card swipe and your ZIP code, and they can easily obtain the identity of a customer.
Giving out your personal information to just anyone increases your risk for identity fraud. Whether it’s your hair stylist wanting to add you to an email list, or a corporate clothing store needing your address, remember to just say no.
DataShield Can Protect Your Identity
DataShield strives to protect the identity of our customers. Contact us today to get a quote on paper shredding, electronic recycling, and compliance consulting for your home or business.