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Home Depot emailing consumers based on their credit card number

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A Home Depot shopper recently realized that he was getting emails about products he had just purchased in the store, although the register never asked if he wanted emails, or what his email address even was, sparking national interest.

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Home Depot can email you based on your credit card number

According to reader, Chris Morran, he began receiving promotional emails from Home Depot regarding in-stor purchases he had just made, learning that whenever consumers use their card in a physical Home Depot store, the retailer can use the card number to send emails about the products just bought.

A Home Depot spokesperson told Morran, “Our policy is to send product review emails like this only to customers who opt in to receive email regarding products and promotions – and those emails may include product reviews. It’s our way of making the content for customers more relevant and meaningful to their purchasing interests, and another way for us to get honest feedback about the products we sell. We gladly and promptly remove anyone from the system who asks, and we’ve only had a handful of those requests.”

The company added, “It’s also very important to note that the IT systems that make this possible do not track credit card numbers. They do, however, recognize a credit card through a unique identifier that matches up with purchases online or in the store. Again, we’ll remove anyone from the list if they’re not comfortable with that, but it’s very well intended to avoid sending customers emails that have nothing to do with their interests.”

How do they know it’s you?

Home Depot reportedly connects the email address used when ordering anything from the Home Depot store with the credit card, assigning a reference number to your credit card, not actually storing the credit card number. This way, only consumers who have purchased from their website are said to be recipients of the promotional or review emails, based on the reference number.

Consumers can opt out of the emails by simply clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of every Home Depot email. The company has, however confirmed that it indefinitely stores all tracking information that it collects from its shoppers, regardless of whether or not a consumer opts out of the emails.

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