Marketplace.org reports the top 10 ways to avoid being tracked online:
Before downloading mobile applications to your smart phone, take the time to read through the agreements. Most people agree to these apps that use your GPS to locate you. Some applications, Facebook included, can download all of your phone contacts.
Read the Terms and Conditions
Most people open an application or website and click the “I agree” button before ever reading what you’re actually agreeing to, because you simply don’t have the time to mindlessly skim through this information. We advise against it, specifically for the websites you will be providing your financial information. The last place you want your financial information is in the hands of hackers.
Pick the Proper Search Engine
According to Marketplace.org, sites such as DuckDuckGo and Startpage are search engines that keep you private. “Google’s Incognito setting, Microsoft’s Do Not Track setting and other browser privacy settings are not always effective, because they typically leave the decision of whether to track you up to the website you visit. There are no regulations requiring websites to honor a ‘Do Not Track’ request.” Have you ever wondered why the exact pair of designer shoes or the latest and greatest tablet you’ve been eyeing just magically show up in ads alongside your browser? Big Brother is always watching, and they track your searching (and spending) to strategically place ads of things you’re interested in according to your browsing history.
Download browser add-ons such as Privacyfix, Do Not Track Plus, etc. to reveal the trackers on each website you visit. These add-on tools can help you evade trackers, but they are not always effective.
If you use CyberGhost VPN or Tor, you are able to encrypt your connection by rerouting your search, which makes it look like you are in France or Russia instead of Starbucks down the street. Use these tools if you are in a public WiFi area.
Social Media Privacy
This should be a given, but for those who have public profiles, we strongly advise against it. Adjust your Facebook settings to “Friends Only” and make your Twitter profile protected. Without it, friends of friends of friends (you get the picture) can see all of your information.
Separate Email Accounts
You have a personal e-email account and a separate work e-mail account, but create one that you give to all of your online shopping retailers. Companies will have a harder time tracking your habits, thus making it more difficult for them to draw up a profile.
Vary Your Passwords
It’s just not the greatest idea to use the same exact password for every site you log into. Change them up! Think you won’t remember? Look up LastPass.com. Or, keep them organized in written form in a SAFE/LOCKED place, and NOT saved on your computer. If you happen to get hacked, those guilty will then have access to each and every password you have ever created, and what they belong to.
Caches and Cookies
Clean these files out regularly. According to Marketplace.org, “many companies will track you for months if you don’t clean these out.”
DeleteMe, Safe Shepherd, Catalog Choice, etc. are services that extract your data from the databases. They are not free and won’t wipe you clear off the grid, but it is another option.