With the Holiday Gift giving season fast approaching many of us turn to online shopping as a quick and easy way to make purchases because it’s fast, easy and the packages arrive right at your door. While online shopping is a great tool for getting what you need, it is also a double edge sword. Many companies use multiple tools within browsers to keep track of users spending and browsing habits. They aggregate that data to make a detailed profile of you or even sell your data to advertisers. Worse are the bad apples on the internet that try to use misdirection and outright lies to steal your information. They do this by creating fake websites with deals that are too good to be true or by embedding links to malware and other troublesome software to infect your devices and outright steal your information, possibly even lock you out of your own computer! 

But by following some simple procedures, you can protect yourself and your information, while still snagging those Holiday deals and completing your shopping with ease! The following links provide helpful tips and procedures that will help keep you safe. 

Stop websites from collecting your information. Different browsers have different steps for updating settings for a more privacy forward setup. This link provides easy walkthroughs for multiple browsers on how to make changes correctly, as well as information on the various ways that browsers track data. 

Feeling targeted? One too many emails in your inbox with your shopping history? Companies try to tailor the online shopping experience and remind you of the products you were looking for, this can be not only annoying but also intrusive. Take the steps neccesary to stop those annoying emails. 

Signing up for a website's newsletter? Does that free shipping or 10% off offer sound tempting? Using a service that strips the electronic trackers from the promotional emails you receive is a quick and easy tool that you can setup and forget about. Emails will still go to your inbox as normal, and you can get that deal! 

Avoid online scams, if a deal seems too good to be true, it might just be! Many social media sites display ads from less than reputable sellers. At best you will get a cheap knock-off of a popular brand, at worst you will get ripped off. Popular scams are for smaller luxury items such as sunglasses, bags, or shoes. 

So, remember this holiday season when you find yourself saving time and shopping online that with just a few quick steps you can protect your online privacy and stay safe on the internet! 

Submitted by Scott Park on December 7, 2023

This article appears in the categories: Law Library