Friday, August 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Be careful about disclosing your ZIP code at checkout

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s becoming a common practice for merchants to ask for your ZIP code when you use a credit card at the checkout, and most consumers reflexively disclose the code, believing it’s a security measure.

But that’s not always the case. Some retailers use the information to send unwanted catalogs, junk mail and telemarketers your way.

So says Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for the San Diego-based nonprofit, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. Stephens warns that the five-digit piece of information can tell retailers a lot about you when paired with your name and credit card number. He also says some merchants sell the information to data brokers to create full consumer profiles.

“It’s quite widespread,” Stephens said. “Consumers don’t even know these profiles exist.”

Recently the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that retailers can’t require ZIP codes during a credit card transaction if the information is used for data collection or marketing, making it the second state (California is the other) to do so.

But they can use it for fraud prevention, and that’s primarily why Utah vendors say they ask for ZIP codes, said Dave Davis, president of the 600-member Utah Retail Merchants Association.

“I’m not aware of any (Utah) retailers collecting (ZIP codes) and using them for (data mining),” he said.

Marsha Gilford, company spokeswoman, for Smith’s Food & Drug stores, said the grocer’s gas stations require ZIP codes on all credit card purchases at the pump, but that it often does not do so for in-store purchases.

“Inside the store, you have the benefit of a personal interaction between a checker and a customer, and whatever ID is required can be verified,” Gilford said. “At the fuel pump, there’s really no check. If someone is using someone else’s credit card, they really need to know that billing ZIP code to be able to utilize that card. It’s more of a precaution we take for our customers to prevent fraudulent use of their card.”

There is a similar requirement at the 200 Chevron and Texaco franchises in Utah, Chevron spokesman Greg Hardy said. “If a customer doesn’t want to enter a ZIP code, they can go inside in the store and make the purchase,” Hardy said.

Some credit card companies take fraud prevention beyond the pump. American Express spokeswoman Amelia Woltering said the company began requesting ZIP codes from customers at gas stations and at top national retail chains in 2003.

“Every American Express transaction goes through a fraud screen (that includes ZIP codes),” Woltering said. “Often we are able to detect problems even before a card member is aware of it.”

Woltering said that retailers don’t keep the ZIPs acquired through American Express purchases for marketing.

But privacy advocates want to make sure that fraud prevention measures don’t open the door for data collection.

“A ZIP code sounds like something generic, but it does constitute personal information,” said Stephens of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse said.

Scripps Howard News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Solano Business IncubatorMarch 30, 2013 - 4:48 pm

    Thank you for the tip! You're a great Newspaper! You have our zip code. That's ok because we trust you. =)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
 
Chapkis Dance brings award-winning moves to Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ducks on the pond, sturgeon in the water

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

Jazz invasion Aug. 30 at performing arts center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
How I spent my summer vacation

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Housing specialist to speak before Senior Rountable

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Brown approves ‘dining with dogs’ law

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 6 Comments

 
Small fire takes place at Solano College

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Aunt of toddler killed pleads not guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Cops greet students at school where plot thwarted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

San Francisco to tally bird-into-window death toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
GPS devices find huge water loss in western US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California plans aid to immigrant minors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
California to appeal ruling tossing death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Stunt blocks traffic on Golden Gate Bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Bodies of 2 men found in adjacent California yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves greater disclosure for campaigns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
American Ebola doc: ‘I am thrilled to be alive’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

No bail for woman in Amish girls’ kidnapping in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Lawyer: Utah restaurant had other chemical burn

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Marathon bombing suspect’s friend pleads guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

US judge strikes down Florida gay marriage ban

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Foley case lays bare debate over paying ransom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pentagon: Islamic State militants will regroup

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syria opposition: Deadly chemical attack forgotten

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian aid convoy advances toward Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Israel kills 3 Hamas military commanders in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Turkey’s Davutoglu named new premier

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Thai army ruler named prime minister

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Indonesian court rejects election loser’s appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Liberia gives food in slum sealed to stop Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment | Gallery

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Aug. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Are America’s police over-militarized and under-accountable?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
Young men helped me, and I thank them

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Get it straight in Ferguson

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11, 14 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Aug. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My whole house shakes when my new neighbors drop their barbells

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 22-28, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
The voice-overs can’t save ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B2

Review: A sweet Moretz rescues ‘If I Stay’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Emmy hopefuls play the angles to nab trophies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Seth Meyers prizes his new role as Emmycast host

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Julianne Hough dances back to ‘Dancing’ as judge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Jon Hamm hopes Ferguson will come out stronger

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Fade to black: Leonard Maltin ending movie guides

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

‘Doctor Who’ returns with a new season on BBC America

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

 
Local boxers make weight and are ready to fight

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Serena Williams to face Townsend in Open 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Loose sod at new Levi’s Stadium removed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Raiders’ Woodson returning to Lambeau, faces Pack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Phelps back in international comp, advances in 100

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tigers’ Price throws 1-hitter, loses to Rays 1-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Philly loses to Chicago in LLWS

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Ryu sets course record at Canadian Women’s Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
McIlroy stumbles to 74, worst start in 2 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Cal interim AD Williams jumps into new role

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Teams test out a new helmet, but does it work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

Goalkeeper Tim Howard taking break from US team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Big 2015 Chevy Tahoe remains a rare breed of SUV

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Airline group forecasts uptick in Labor Day travel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Applications for US unemployment aid fall to 298K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
United lures top fliers with promise of a hot meal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

Family Dollar rejects Dollar General offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
S&P 500 closes at a record; Hewlett-Packard gains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Ford recalling more than 160,000 vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Bank of America settlement likely to benefit few

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

US housing recovery appears to be back on track

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Mary Louise Loveall

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9