Does it feel like you are being watched when you browse the Internet? Do you wonder why one company knows what you just looked for on a different website? Curious as to why site advertisements seem to be marketed directly to you? The fact of the matter is that you are being tracked every time you open up your browser of choice.
Internet tracking is at an all-time high. Companies want to know what you are doing online, what you are shopping for, and what websites you’ve visited. While it might seem impossible to prevent online tracking, there are some things that you can do to minimize this risk.
First: Shut Down Social Networks
Do you have a habit of leaving your favorite social network site open as you view other websites? Social networks communicate with other sites unless you completely log out of your Facebook, Twitter, or other account. Shutting a page isn’t enough, though, you will actually have to find the log out button and log out completely.
Second: Create Multiple Email Personalities
If you use the same email address for every login page, you are setting yourself up to be tracked. Try creating a work, personal, and shopping email address. This way, companies won’t be able to connect the email dots. Setting up various email addresses takes a few minutes, but this simple step is really worth it.
Third: Go With a Pen Name
Yearning to create a different identity? Well, why not start when you fill out online forms? Unless you are ordering something that must be sent to your home, filling out a legal form, or providing a company with important information about you, you really don’t have to give up your full name. Why not sign up for that newsletter using a fake name? Or, give out a completely different email address when you log into that site for the first time? This way, your identity will be kept safe.
Lastly: Clear All Cookies
After you’re done using a website, clear your cookies. This is an especially important step when it comes to social networks. The moment you are done with your Facebook page, clear those cookies out. It’s hard for a company to sell your information or to track you when there’s nothing for that company to track.
Simple Steps Lead to a Better Online Life
It’s hard to remain anonymous online anymore. Companies sell your information to other companies at the drop of a hat. While you don’t need to become completely paranoid and stop using the Internet altogether, you do need to realize that today’s Internet is different. Stop using your real name, choose a different email address, learn to clear your cookies, and use common sense. It’s not a coincidence that one company knows all of your details before you order a product or really use a new website.
Internet companies have become quite good at tracking users online and figuring out what consumers are buying. The good news is that you don’t have to fall prey to these tricks. The next time that you open up a browser, keep these simple steps in mind to avoid tracking online.