How to protect your privacy, adjust your public profile on Amazon

When fall arrives, I get more and more calls on my national radio show from people looking for easy ways to make some extra money. I understand. When you buy gifts for a lot of friends and family, it quickly adds up.

Unfortunately, remote work scams are everywhere. The worst thing you can do is research “make money online”. I’ve got your back.

Tap or click for a list of legitimate online jobs that might match your skills.

During this time of year, also look for ways to save some hard-earned money. Tap or click to discover eight proven ways to lower your Internet, cable and streaming bills.

With every holiday shopping season, I like to review Amazon’s security essentials, so you don’t have to worry about spoiling a surprise or putting your privacy at risk.

1. Prevent Amazon from tracking your browsing

Amazon tracks all of your browsing activity by default. The company records your searches, including articles you recently viewed as well as product categories.

These details allow Amazon to create advertisements that specifically target you and your interests. The bad news is that anyone you share a computer or account with can see these ads as well.

Here’s how to stop Amazon from tracking your browsing activity:

• Log into your account on

• In the top menu under the Amazon search bar, click Navigation history.

• On the next page, click on the Manage history drop-down arrow.

• Activate / deactivate the Activate / deactivate the browsing history option to Deactivated.

• You can also click on Remove all items from view to clear your history.

Then deactivate personalized ads in just a few clicks:

• Go to the Your Account page.

• Under Communication and content, click Advertising preferences.

• On this page, select Do not show me interest-based ads provided by Amazon, and then click Submit.

It feels like the follow-up never ends… because it doesn’t. Tap or click here to see five ways you’re currently being tracked and can be stopped.

2. Don’t let Alexa spoil the surprise

If you have an Echo device, Alexa can automatically provide you with delivery updates for the items you order. This convenience could be a big deal while on vacation. Alexa loudly announces the delivery, spoiling the surprise. Now the recipient of your gift knows what to expect.

To keep the element of surprise for your gift orders, follow these steps to turn off the feature in the Alexa app:

• Open the Alexa app on your phone.

• Faucet Following > Settings > Notifications.

• Select Amazon Purchases. Here you can set your preferences to allow Alexa to tell or display what you have purchased, announce deliveries, and notify you of returns.

Alexa is helpful, but she’s also curious. Tap or click for five Echo security settings to check now, including how to quickly turn off the mic.

3. Make your lists private

There are two main “lists” on Amazon: the shopping list and the wish list. Your wishlists keep track of everything you want to buy later for yourself or your friends and family.

These lists are now private by default, but you may have set one as public years ago without realizing it.

If so, anyone in the world could find your wishlist by searching for your name. If you have a common name, it is more difficult to find your way. But if strangers find out where you live, they can infer and identify your profile.

To check the privacy settings for your Amazon listings:

• Click the Accounts & Lists drop-down list next to the search bar, then select Wishlists.

• Click it three points next to Send list to others at the top right, then select Manage the list.

• Here you can edit the details of your list. This includes your list name, recipient name, email, birthday, and privacy.

• To change the list’s privacy settings from Public, click and select Private from the drop-down list.

4. Delete your public profile

People are always surprised when I tell them they have a public profile on Amazon. It is created automatically whether you like it or not. It contains comments, ratings, public wishlists, biographical information and other interactions on the site.

It doesn’t include your purchases or browsing history, but it is still very informative. If you want to control what activity is visible on your public profile, follow these steps:

• Log in to your Amazon account. Click on Accounts and Lists.

• Scroll down. Under Ordering and purchasing preferences, click Your Amazon profile.

• Click on the yellow box marked Edit your public profile. Here you will see Edit profile and Change privacy settings.

If you want a quick overview of the information you share publicly, click View your profile as a visitor. If your profile shows your real name or other information you don’t want, go back to the profile settings page and click the button Edit profile tongue. It’s located right next to the Change privacy settings tab.

You can edit or delete information such as your biography, occupation, and location. You can even change the “public name” on your profile and post reviews anonymously.

Do you like what you read ? I published a technical newsletter twice a week that you might like. See a sample and register now. It’s free!

5. Protect yourself from accidental purchases

When I’m in gift shopping mode, I don’t think so much about every package that comes to my door. I could just grab it and put it in a cupboard to pack it up later. Wouldn’t it be boring to open a box a few weeks later and realize it’s something you never intended to order?

Voice control through an Echo speaker sounds handy, but it’s probably something that most people only come across by accident.

Disable voice purchase by doing the following:

• Open your Alexa app.

• Press the three bars in the lower right corner and select Settings > Account settings.

• Faucet Voice purchase > Purchase controls. Here you can activate a 4-digit code, allow anyone to make purchases, or completely disable voice purchases.

If you set up the 4-digit voice code, it must be spoken to make a purchase on your Alexa-enabled device. Of course, anyone can listen to and reuse your code. A voice purchase PIN adds a bit of security, but it’s not foolproof.

Bonus tip: Cyberbullying: how to tackle online abuse

Online harassment victimizes 40% of Americans. Cyberbullying can happen to anyone – and it can damage every aspect of your life, from your friendships to your future career. In this episode, find out how stalking happens and create a defense strategy you can use to protect yourself from online abuse.

Check out my “Kim Komando Explains” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.

Check out all the latest tech on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s biggest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and gives advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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