I've noticed that almost everywhere lately they ask me for my zip code when I use my debit card. I thought it was data collection to see what area of town their customers were coming from but that's not it at all. In fact it's against the law to ask for such information. When you go into a store and go to swipe your credit/debit card the employees have more increasingly been asking for personal information, your zip code, for example.  It is actually illegal for them to do this.

They are most likely using that information to pull up your full address and personal information from a data base and then they send you junk mail or in some cases they even sell your information.

This all came to light when a woman in California filed suit against Sonoma-Williams (which sells kitchen ware) over this issue. The California Supreme Court ruled that is was illegal for retailers to ask for personal information when using a credit card. Most credit card companies do not require retailers to check for any kind of i.d. unless it is thought the card might be being used in a fraudulent manor.

One exception to all of this is gas pumps that require you to enter your zip code as part of their billing requirements.

And, of course, with all of the identity theft cases it is most imperative to keep your personal information as guarded as possible.

This holiday season remember it's your choice to give out your personal information but it is not required therefore you can simply say "no, thanks".