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Seen At 11: E-Receipts Come With Privacy Concerns

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Paper or plastic? Cash or charge? Now there's a new question when it comes time to pay: What kind of receipt would you like?

As CBS 2's Maurice DuBois reports, stores are increasingly offering to send customers email receipts, which are convenient and save paper.

But if you choose an e-receipt, experts warn that convenience comes with a price: your privacy.

"Once you've given up your email address, that retailer can use it for any purpose," said consumer advocate Richard Holober.

Holober said that includes sending you more emails, using it for targeted marketing and even selling your information to a third party.

In New York and New Jersey, retailers cannot request personal information such as an email address or phone number to complete a credit card transaction. But asking for an email address to send a receipt is a loophole in the law.

Claire Rosenzweig, CEO of the Better Business Bureau of of Metropolitan New York, said consumers should always be cautious with personal information.

"The question that the consumer should be asking the retailer is, 'What are you doing with my information?'" she said. "Sometimes, if it's online with the terms and conditions, you'll clearly see that whoever you're signing up with is clearly saying that they are going to be giving that information to third parties.

Store policies vary as to how they use customers' email addresses. For example, Apple, the store that pioneered e-receipts, said it doesn't share email addresses with a third party, but does use them for marketing purposes.

"You as a consumer, being proactive, should be asking yourself, 'Do I really want to give this information to that retailer? Do i trust them? And what information am I giving over to the retailer?" Rosenzweig said.

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