Make Your Amazon Account More Secure & Private

Posted on July 29th, 2018

I am not sure how I would get by without Amazon today. I generally make a purchase at least once a week, and all of my shipments go to a secure Amazon Locker in whatever town I happen to be in. This convenience can quickly turn into a privacy nightmare if you allow specific information to remain public. I encourage all Amazon customers to make the following three changes to their account(s).

1) Remove your Amazon public profile

Your Amazon profile is created automatically, whether you want it or not, and it contains comments, ratings, public Wish Lists, biographical information, and other site interaction. This profile doesn’t include your purchases or your browsing history, but it’s very informative. If you want to control what activity is visible on your public profile, do the following:

Put your cursor on the “Account & Lists,” button and then click on “Your Account”

Scroll down to the “Ordering and shopping preferences” section. Click the “Profile” link above the social media preferences link

Click on the link in the orange box to the right that says, “Edit your profile”

Click the “Edit privacy settings” tab

Select “Hide all activity on your profile”

If your profile is showing your real name, or other biographical information you don’t want, go back to the profile settings page and click the Edit profile tab. You can edit or delete any information like your Bio, Occupation, Location, and more. You can even change the “public name” on your profile and post reviews anonymously.

2) Make your lists private

There are two main “lists” on Amazon; the Shopping List, and the Wish List. Many people use their Wish Lists for gift ideas, but we often use Wish Lists as a log of items we don’t want to forget. The trouble is, anyone in the world can find your Wish List by searching your name. To check the privacy settings of your Amazon Lists, do the following:

Click on the “Accounts & Lists” drop-down box then select “Shopping List” or “Wish List”

On this “Your Lists” page, click on three dots (next to “Share List”) then select “Manage List”

Change your list details like your list name, the name of the recipient, email, and birthday

Change the list’s privacy by clicking on it and selecting “Private” on the drop-down box

3) Stop Amazon from tracking your browsing

Amazon tracks all your browsing activity by default. The company saves your searches, including items you recently viewed and product categories you browsed. All of this information helps Amazon create targeted ads. Although your browsing history is hidden from the public, you may find this habit unsettling. To stop Amazon from tracking your browsing activity, do the following:

On the upper menu, click on “Your Browsing History”

On the next page, click on the “Manage history” drop-down arrow

Toggle “Turn Browsing History on/off” to Off

Clear your entire browsing history here by clicking the “Remove all items” button

Return to “Your Account” page

Under “Email alerts, messages, and ads,” click “Advertising preferences”

On this page, select “Do Not Personalize Ads from Amazon for this Internet Browser”

Hit “Submit”

Amazon is an amazingly convenient purchasing option. Like most merchants, they want your private data in order to sell you more product. These simple steps give you a bit more control of how they use your details. This list does not cover privacy considerations when using an Amazon Alexa, but my gut says that anyone concerned with privacy from Amazon would not possess a listening device such as the Alexa inside their home.

Filed under Privacy, Security |

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