If you shop on Amazon (and really – who doesn’t?), there’s a lot you should do to help protect your privacy and your bank account. Here are ten ways to make sure you aren't sharing too much with the Amazon community.
Turn On Two-Factor Authentication
This isn’t an Amazon-only set you should take. Any website you log into should be set for two-factor authentication. Yes, it adds a step to logging in, but you’ll know that your account is visible only to you. No one else can post for you, charge purchases to you, or glean any personal information about you on accounts that are accessible only through your OK.
To enable Two-Step Verification:
In Your Account, select Login & security.
Select Edit beside Two-Step Verification (2SV) Settings.
Click Get Started.
Follow the on-screen instructions.
If you have used or use your Amazon account to log in to other accounts like Amazon Prime, PayPal, Kindle, or Audible, you should sign out to ensure multiple devices aren’t connected to these apps. Again, this doesn’t apply to Amazon only. Your Pay Pal, Venmo, utility, and banking accounts may be linked through your website logins.
To sign out of all Amazon linked accounts, go to Your Account | Login & security |Secure Your Account. Click on Edit, then click the Sign-out everything button at the bottom of the page.
Turn off your Amazon Browsing History
If you are a big fan of Amazon’s purchase recommendations (which rely on your purchase and browsing histories), you may not want to take this step. If, however, you don’t pay much attention to Amazon’s suggestions, you can remove your history and keep someone else from knowing your hobbies or collection preferences.
To remove your browsing history:
Hover your cursor over Accounts & Lists at the top-right of the Amazon home page (after logging in) and click Browsing History in the drop-down. Your history will appear on the next page.
Click on Manage History in the top right of the page (below the banner).
On the left side of the screen, above the pictures of your items, you’ll see a button “Remove all items from view.” Click this button and your history will disappear. I
f you’d like to keep Amazon from tracking your browsing, click on the button next to “Turn Browsing History on/off” to set to off.
Delete All of Your Alexa Recordings (including those you don’t know about)
You may know someone who has unplugged her Echo device because she doesn’t like that “Big Brother is Watching” feeling an Echo can give. Amazon keeps a copy of each of your Alexa voice commands, sounds detected by Alexa-powered smart home devices, and the complete history of your smart home device usage.
To erase this history from the web:
Go to amazon.com/alexa-privacy/apd/home and select Review Voice History.
Tap the downward-facing arrows next to Displaying
Click Filter by date.
Finally, select All History and click Delete all of my recordings.
To erase your Alexa history from the app:
Go to More > Settings > Alexa Privacy > Review Voice History.
Tap the downward-facing arrow next to Displaying and then the arrow next to Filter by date.
Select All History and tap Delete all of my recordings.
To erase Smart Home Device History:
Go to Smart Home Device History and click the right-arrow next to Choose how long to save history. The lowest you can go is three months, and unfortunately, there’s no option to stop saving this history completely. The option right below that is the next best thing—One-time deletion of all history. Select that and click the red Delete button.
To erase Detected Sounds History:
Click on Detected Sounds History and click the right-arrow next to Choose how long to save history. Once again, the least you can erase is under "Save history for 3 months."
Lastly, go to the Help improve Alexa section and disable "Use of voice recordings." This will stop Amazon from using your recordings to improve features and from being manually reviewed by Amazon employees. The risk here is that Alexa may be less accurate at detecting your commands.
Under "Use messages to improve transcriptions," flip the button next to your name to turn this feature off.
Update Your Public Profile Information
Your Amazon profile is visible to the public by default. This means all of the reviews you post and badges you earn are visible to everyone.
To make your Amazon profile more private:
Go to Your Account | Your Profiles | and a box will appear with a list of the profiles associated with your account. You may see some on there that you don’t need, like Kids or Spouse. You can delete those by clicking on them and clicking “delete” at the bottom of the box.
To see your Amazon Public Profile:
On the “Manage Your Profiles Page,” look at the bottom of the box and you’ll see “Looking for your Amazon Public Profile?” Click on this to take you to your public profile information. This is the information that appears with your reviews and buttons. You can change your profile name to something unique to you that doesn’t give away your identity.
To hide your reviews from your public profile:
Click on the three dots at the right of each review box and select “hide from my public profile.”
Click on the yellow “Edit your public profile” button and remove any information you don’t wish to share with Amazon shoppers.
Disable Your One-Click Option
Amazon lets you use a feature called 1-Click to buy stuff quickly. While this is great for faster checkouts, it also encourages impulse buying. If you don’t want people in your household accidentally ordering things, you can disable 1-Click everywhere.
On the “Your Account” page, look toward the bottom left for the “Ordering and shopping preferences” box. In that list is the “1-Click settings” link.
On the 1-Click settings page, click the “disable 1-click everywhere” option at the upper right of the column that lists your purchase preferences.
Delete Old Addresses in Address Book
In Amazon’s Address Book, any addresses to which you’ve sent packages in the past are listed as selections for shipping when ordering. To avoid confusion and mistakes, remove addresses that are obsolete.
If you order for someone else frequently, you can also assign a payment method to a particular address so you aren’t accidentally paying for something someone else has requested.
To edit or remove addresses:
Go to My Account | My Addresses. Select obsolete addresses and click “remove.”
To assign a specific card to an address:
Go to Your Account › Your Payments › Settings › Your Purchase Preferences. Here you can set your defaults and change payment methods per address.
Remove Tracking on All of your Amazon Devices
Whether you use Kindle, Fire TV, or Echo devices, all track your activity in your Amazon account.
To remove this tracking:
Go to the Privacy Settings Tab (Account | Manage Your Content and Devices | Privacy Settings) and click Manage Settings” for each device to set your privacy preferences.
For Alexa, click on “review voice history.” Select a date range, then click on “Delete all of my recordings.”
Then in the left-hand column, click on “Manage Your Alexa Data.” Under Voice Recordings, click on “Choose how long to save recordings.” You can choose to save none of the recordings, or any past a certain date, etc. depending on the level of privacy you want.
Don’t Share Your Wi-Fi Passwords with Amazon
Amazon saves your Wi-Fi passwords so that you can quickly connect with new devices using your Amazon account while on the same network. If you’d rather not hand this data to Amazon, you can start deleting saved Wi-Fi passwords. If your password is impossible to remember or you don't have a password manager tool like Dashlane, you may want to skip this.
To remove your Wi-Fi passwords:
Go to Content and Privacy Settings and click on Saved Network Passwords. Here you can delete the passwords from all devices or set up “Frustration-Free” connections.
Stop Amazon Sidewalk from sharing your Wi-Fi
Sidewalk is essentially a mesh network that extends your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection range by up to a mile. It turns your Echo speakers and some Ring gadgets into bridge devices to give internet-connected tech a boost.
This only applies to some devices, including Ring’s Floodlight Cam, Spotlight Cam Wired, and Spotlight Cam Mount from 2019 or later, along with most Echo models (including the Dot, Plus, Show, Dot for Kids, and Studio) made after 2016.
If you want to opt-out:
Open the Alexa app.
Tap More followed by Settings.
Tap Account Settings, followed by Amazon Sidewalk.
Turn Amazon Sidewalk off if you do not want to participate.
Make Your Lists Private
If you use Amazon like Pinterest, you have lots of lists in lots of categories so you can remember that perfect air purifier or curtain rod you want to get one day. Unless you are registered for a wedding or birthday, make your lists private so others can’t get a whiff of your expensive tastes and preferences.
Click on Account and Lists, select each list, and select private.
You can share your lists with specific friends and family by clicking on the list, then +Invite. There you can give view only or view and edit permissions to anyone by sending an email through Amazon or copying a link and sending it through your personal email.
You’ll need to take these steps for each list.
Sources: LifeHack, Amazon, Looker, USA Today