Supermarkets offer great deals for people who sign up for their (usually free) loyalty programs. Despite these programs being around for over 25 years, retailers are still tapping into the value that this customer-related data holds. The info they get from these loyalty programs have become increasingly invaluable and they have only reached the tip of the iceberg. The most basic benefits they are able to pull from tracking customers’ behavior are: acquiring new customers, retaining current ones, increase spending of customers, and shift spending to higher margin products.

Nevertheless, nearly all of us have signed up for one these programs at some point and many have a multitude of cards in our wallets or on key chains. Based on customer feedback, more and more retailers now allow you to enter your phone number into the credit card machine to access the program’s “savings” so you don’t have to carry your Neiman Marcus card, Shop Rite card, Best Buy card, Giant card, and the 15 other places you spend money. It’s very easy to end up with a George Costanza wallet.

However, with today’s thieves finding new and creative ways to steal whatever they can, it is becoming more and more common that your phone number is ending up in the wrong hands. Armed with just those 10 digits, a skilled hacker can use software to pull your full name, home address, e-mail address, as well as personal messages and pictures (thank you Scarlett Johansson) from your phone. Thieves can even track your current location via GPS from your wireless network. As smart phones become more popular, we are utilizing them to store all kinds of info (like passwords) and thus providing thieves with a lot more opportunity.

So what do you do if you want to protect your personal info while still realizing the savings at your favorite retailers? Call Jenny! Many of us couldn’t forget Tommy Tutone’s catchy 1982 hit “8675309” despite how hard we tried. There is a very likely chance that at some point, someone used that number to sign up for a rewards card that didn’t want to provide their personal info. At checkout you can simply use your local area code and 867-5309 then boom – savings! No more carrying around that Petco Card rewards card.

It’s also very convenient while traveling. Do I want the savings of buy one, get one free containers of hummus? Yes. Do I want to waste my time signing up for a Winn Dixie rewards card for the one time a year I’m in Florida? No. I’m calling Jenny for a good time instead.
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Nick Haneiko

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5 comments so far,Add yours

  1. Haha, George Costanza.
    This is a very clever and informative article. I especially agree with the idea of beating the system with fake information. Im going to have to try that. Thanks Nick Haneiko! I also like the reference to an unshakable '80s gem. Keep 'em coming and keep up the good work!

  2. This also works with 555-1212 sometimes.

  3. Very helpful information!!

  4. Is it morally wrong to use someone's identity to get free (or cheaper)stuff, even if that identity itself is a fake ? I am guessing most of us won't have an problem with it.
    A very valuable piece of advice indeed !