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I-Team: Rewards programs could pose risks to your privacy

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Many businesses offer you a chance to save money on future purchases by signing up for their rewards program.

You can earn rewards at pharmacies, airlines, clothing stores, and even grocery stores. But the 22News I-Team discovered why these loyalty programs could put your privacy at risk.

Nearly 4 billion people participate in customer loyalty programs. Membership allows you to earn points or discounts on future purchases. But you have to accept the program’s terms and conditions, which requires your private information.

22News asked a agawam resident about if he thinks about what businesses do with the information people provide. He said he didn’t, until we asked.

“We are agreeing to these programs, these rewards and we are at their mercy,” Robert Grazia said.

Most businesses will ask for your personal information, like your address, phone number, and email when you sign up for their rewards program, but that could put your privacy at risk.

So the next time you’re asked to join one of these programs, be sure to read its terms and conditions thoroughly before signing up.

22News spoke with the Director of Consumer Information in Springfield, Milagros Johnson about what he thinks of loyalty programs.

“Its a contract you are agreeing to it. Consumers are quick to accept without reading, without reviewing, without considering the consequences that come with it,” Johnston told 22News.

Johnson told the I-Team some companies will share your personal information with third-party companies. They could also pinpoint your location if you provide your mobile phone number.

If you are concerned about how a business will use your personal information, you can always not participate. Just “opt out” of the rewards program.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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