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Should You Give Retail Stores Your Email?

Few people are aware of the consequences that can result from giving your email to a retail outlet. Find out more about the repercussions.

An email address seems like the most innocent thing you can give out to a retail store. While one would obviously be hesitant to expose information such as their Social Security Number or their credit card info, an email is a seemingly harmless address that people give out without hesitation. However, there are several repercussions to giving out your email address with no hesitation. Here are a few:

Email Bombardment
The first and least severe penalty to giving out your email address is the email bombardment you will likely receive. If some store wants your email, it’s likely because they want to send you something — this is obvious. However, some stores abuse this power more than others. As a result, one store can send you several emails a day, flooding your inbox and making your account less efficient.

Read More: How Do the Presidential Candidates View Cybersecurity?

Sensitive Information
Some people utilize sensitive information to comprise their email addresses, for some reason. For instance, many will use their birthday as a number to make their email unique. If a malicious person were to gain access to information such as your birthday or your address, this could be a gateway to hacking your social media and banking accounts. If your email has sensitive information, think twice before exposing it to strangers.

One could logically say that Target and Wal-Mart probably won’t use your email to phish you. However, there are smaller and less well renowned retail stores that could utilize your email for malicious purposes. These stores could send you a phishing email, prompting you to enter your vital information into a malicious website. This could obviously lead to a breach of security for several of your accounts if your information falls into the wrong hands.

It Serves As an ID For Multiple Websites
Think about how many websites you use your email address for as your login. For this reason, your email address should be treated as a relatively private account. Giving it out to random retail stores could lead to certain employees trying to hack your online accounts. However, if you use several different emails for different websites, then this should not raise a concern for you.

In sum, while you shouldn’t completely avoid giving your email out to retail stores, you should heavily consider the source prior to exposing this sensitive information. While it seems safe to give out your email, this could potentially lead to catastrophic account breaches.