Simple ways to stop advertisers from following you online

Jan 9, 2022, 5:00 AM
(Unsplash Photo)...
(Unsplash Photo)
(Unsplash Photo)

We all know that prickling feeling when we see an ad online or on our phone for something we just talked about with a friend.

Big Tech companies say they’re not listening to us and feeding ads for things they hear. I say you can never be too safe. Tap or click for a simple trick to block the microphone on your computer or phone.

Speaking of simple, this quick test tells you how much information your browser is leaking. Tap or click to test yours. Don’t like the results? It’s time to pick a new browser.

If you’re sick of handing your private info to advertisers, here are a few ways you can shut them out in just a few clicks.

How do advertisers decide what to show you?

Your internet behavior dictates the ads you see. Through a process called retargeting, your data is crunched to give companies a picture of your online behavior. This list includes sites you visit, products you add to your cart and ads you click.

Algorithms analyze your visits over time. One method to help stop your activity from being tracked by advertisers, and other nefarious entities, is to block or limit third-party cookies in your browser.

How to block cookies in your browser

To block cookies in Google Chrome, simply click the three-dot menu in the upper right corner and choose Settings. Scroll down and tap Advanced, then scroll to Privacy and security and click Site settings. Tap on the Cookies and site data option and enable Block third-party cookies.

For Microsoft Edge, select the three-dot menu in the upper top right corner, then choose Settings > Site permissions > Cookies and site data.

In Mozilla Firefox, tap on the three-line menu in the top right corner, then click on Settings. Choose Privacy and Security, then click on the Custom option and check Cookies. Select All third-party cookies.

For Safari, choose Preferences > Privacy. From there you can select Block all cookies or choose an option like Prevent cross-site tracking.

Go incognito

There’s a common misconception that incognito mode hides what you browse from Google, your internet service provider, your work, and everything else. It doesn’t. But it does remove most cookies collected when you load a webpage.

To use Incognito Mode in both Chrome and Firefox, tap the menu (three-dot or line, respectively, on the top right corner of the browser), then New Incognito Window.

To browse in private using Edge, click on the three-dot menu and choose New InPrivate window.

In Safari, click File > New Private Window.

Incognito mode isn’t a fix-all, but it does have some practical uses. Tap or click here for six of my favorites.

Choose a security-first option

Ditching your current search engine can also limit advertisers from tracking you. One option is DuckDuckGo. It allows you to search the internet and protects your privacy. There’s no tracking, collecting, and sharing of your personal information.

The problem: The search results you get with DuckDuckGo aren’t the best.

Tap or click for a list of search engines that respect your privacy.

Dive into your settings

Double-check your security and privacy settings in accounts such as Facebook or Google to help stop advertisers from tracking you. Be sure to check settings that include permissions, cookies, and site data.

With these settings, you can control what info websites can use and what content they show you. However, there is no guarantee you will save yourself from being tracked by all advertisers.

Tap or click to stop Facebook from passing everything you do to the highest bidder.

Remove your info from data broker sites

You’ve seen these creepy sites. They sell all kinds of information on consumers, like you, to people and businesses willing to pay.

The sheer amount of data collected will make your skin crawl. It includes:

● Name
● Address
● Income
● Websites you visit
● Whom you connect with online

Tap or click for methods to remove your info from three popular sites.

Turn on a VPN

A virtual private network, or VPN, is one of the best methods for shutting out annoying advertisers. VPNs increase your privacy and security by encrypting your data, concealing your online activities, and manipulating your IP address to make it appear information is coming from a different location.

Together, these steps prevent retargeting as advertisers can’t tell where your internet activity is coming from, providing you with the anonymity you deserve.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Kim Komando

(Pexels Photo)...
Kim Komando

Convert your old VHS tapes to digital in time for the holidays

Put away the movie projector and check out the best ways to preserve and share your home videos.
11 hours ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Kim Komando

These are the top 5 signs you need a new laptop

Let’s look at the clear-cut signs buying a new laptop is in your immediate future.
6 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Kim Komando

Protect your privacy, cellphone number and email address

One way to cut down on the endless attempts to steal your money and info for sale to marketers is to limit who has your contact information. Here are some simple, free ways to do it.
7 days ago
(Public Domain Pictures Photo)...
Kim Komando

Remove these 5 dangerous tech gadgets from your home now

Some outdated tech gadgets are security and safety risks, too. Scan this list to make sure you and your family are safe.
9 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Kim Komando

How to scan a QR code on your smartphone without using any apps

Your smartphone is full of surprises. There’s an app if you want to use your phone as a magnifying glass or scanner. Tap or click here for hidden apps on your smartphone and how to find them. Third-party programs take up space on your phone, and many are redundant thanks to your phone’s built-in capabilities. […]
10 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Kim Komando

3 common mistakes made when installing security cameras

Security cameras give us peace of mind that our homes and valuables are safe when we're away. Here are steps you can take to protect the devices that protect you.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Simple ways to stop advertisers from following you online