Privacy Tip: 5 Ways You’re Being Tracked That You Should Stop Right Now

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Online privacy is an oxymoron. For example, your phone has an advertiser ID that should keep your location anonymous. Are you surprised it’s not? Me neither. Tap or click here to learn how to view and remove your advertiser ID..

It’s not always spying on advertisers and big tech companies. A stranger or someone you know might be poking around in your accounts. Tap or click for the quick check you need to complete to secure your Facebook, Google, and Netflix accounts..

Privacy is not a given. Here are five ways to return as much as possible.

It's not always spying on advertisers and big tech companies.  A stranger or someone you know might be poking around in your accounts.

It’s not always spying on advertisers and big tech companies. A stranger or someone you know might be poking around in your accounts.
(AP)

1. Everyone’s least favorite cookie

You collect cookies when you browse the web on your phone, computer or tablet. These data bits store information about the websites you visit. Cookies store your logins, personalization settings, advertising information and other data.

On a positive note, cookies save images and files and save you from having to log in every time you visit a site. But these cookies contain a lot of your data. Fortunately, you can delete cookies manually in a few steps.

Touch or click here to remove cookies from your phone.. Follow this link to learn how to remove cookies from your computer’s browser..

Even better, use incognito mode. When you browse the web in incognito mode, your browser does not store your history, cookies, site data, or information you enter into forms. it does save any downloaded files or bookmarks created during the session.

Exclusive temporary offer: As a special thanks to my readers, I am giving you a free guide for Windows or Mac full of tips, tricks and great downloads. Get your free guide for Windows or Mac now at my Komando.com/FreeGuides website.

Be aware that your ISP may still be able to see your activity, as well as the school or employer providing you with Internet access or a computer.

To go incognito mode in Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, click Ctrl + Shift + N (or Command+Shift+N on Mac). Click or triple click, you should always browse incognito.

For even more privacy, start a VPN. A virtual private network or VPN is a layer of protection between your devices and the internet. It hides your IP address and your location. It also encrypts your data after you log out of your device and go to any website you visit.

Don’t even think about using a free VPN. At best, it won’t have the necessary privacy features, which will slow things down. At worst, it’s hiding malware or tracking your information. My choice ExpressVPNThe VPN I used before they sponsored my national radio show.

2. Your emails are a mine of information.

Just think of everything in your inbox. In the wrong hands, these digital messages can cause great damage.

Encryption is a way to protect your email from hackers, criminals and prying eyes. This is the process by which your email messages are encrypted so that if hackers manage to intercept them, all they will see is gibberish.

Major email services such as Gmail and Yahoo do not provide end-to-end encryption. Encryption is difficult to implement and usually requires the participation of all correspondents. The process is not end-to-end if your email uses encryption, but my not. At some point, your message will be vulnerable.

If encrypting your email is necessary, you need to switch to a secure service such as StartMail, ProtonMail, Mailfence, Tutanota, or Hushmail.

Use Gmail? You can send a confidential email. Email sent in confidential mode cannot be forwarded and you can choose whether the recipient is required to use a password to read it. Tap or click here and scroll to None. 3 steps to try it yourself.

Google sign inside Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.  Use Gmail?  You can send a confidential email.  Email sent in confidential mode cannot be forwarded and you can choose whether the recipient is required to use a password to read it.  Tap or click here and scroll to None.  3 for steps to try it yourself.

Google sign inside Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. Use Gmail? You can send a confidential email. Email sent in confidential mode cannot be forwarded and you can choose whether the recipient is required to use a password to read it. Tap or click here and scroll to None. 3 for steps to try it yourself.
(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

3. Your apps are watching you

Your phone knows exactly where you’ve been over the past few days, weeks, and even months. If it’s been a while since you looked at your phone location settingsdo it now.

Check out this hidden location setting on your iPhone:

Click Settingsthen Confidentiality.

To choose Location servicesthen scroll down to System Services.

To choose Important places to view the record of where you’ve been and turn it off.

Here’s how to adjust location settings on Android:

open Settingsthen scroll down and tap Location.

To stop tracking, you can toggle Use location off.

If you don’t want to remove all permissions, tap Application Location Permissions.

For each app, tap it to select your preferred option: Allow all the time, Allow only when using the app, Ask every time, or Don’t allow. You can also decide whether the app will see your exact or approximate location.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
(Getty images)

4. Your TV looks back at you.

Sorry for breaking it to you. Your streaming services also track your activity. It makes sense. Netflix, Hulu, and everyone else wants to know what shows you like so they can recommend content you’ll love and don’t mind paying for.

However, monitoring is not in your favor. Streaming services collect your browsing history and the ads you watch or skip. They then share this data with advertisers.

Tap or click here for a step-by-step guide to deleting your history on Netflix, Hulu, and more.

If you have a smart TV, you also have the basic settings to check. Tap or click to stop Samsung, LG, Amazon Fire TV, or Roku TV from spying..

5. Stop sharing everything you buy and view

Google always seems to know just what you want and it’s not in your head. Google tracks every search, click, message, and request. Clear your search and activity history from time to time. Here’s how:

Go to myaccount.google.com and sign in. Alternatively, go to google.com and click on the circle icon in the top right corner with your image or initials inside. Then click Manage your Google account.

Click Data Privacy in the left menu.

You’ll see checkmarks next to Web & App History, Location History, and YouTube History. Click on each to customize the settings. Switch them off to stop further tracking if you choose.

On these pages, you can also set up automatic deletion for future actions. I highly recommend that you enable this. You can choose 3 months, 18 months or 36 months.

Don’t stop there. Tap or click to view additional Google privacy settings that you can change right now..

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Find out about all the latest technology at The The Kim Commando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and gives advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data breaches. For daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Commando.com.