Online shopping: How to censor your purchases on Amazon and other …


Columnist Marc Saltzman runs by a apps that will assistance we save income while shopping.
Marc Saltzman, Special for USA TODAY

You competence suffer conference an vehement “Oh honey, we shouldn’t have!” from your life partner, after ripping open a box of a honeyed span of wireless headphones.

But chances are you’d cite it on Christmas morning, by a tree — instead of on Dec 19, on your doorstep, in front of a smoothness person.

Alas, a recognition of online selling has combined a new fold when it comes to selling gifts for desired ones – generally those vital underneath a same roof – and so we’re now forced to prevent packages from couriers, bury email receipts, dumpy a web history, and compensate with benefaction cards to equivocate extraordinary charges on a credit label bill.

That’s a change from a a aged days, when we competence have paid income for your partner’s benefaction in a mall, and afterwards hid it in a home until Dec 25.

If you’re uncertain how to cover your technological tracks, a following are a few suggestions.

Shop on your smartphone

While we competence share a personal mechanism during home, we substantially have apart smartphones, sealed with a PIN or biometrics login (such as regulating your fingerprint, iris, or face).

Therefore, use your mobile web browser, or an app, to personally buy a family gifts.

More: Amazon Google-YouTube squabble a good sign to spend time and income elsewhere

Gift cards, delegate accounts

If we don’t wish to use benefaction cards to cover your marks – that we can squeeze during gas stations and preference stores – we can also emanate a apart credit label or bank account, to equivocate ruining a surprise.

Some savvy (nay, sneaky) shoppers set adult a giveaway webmail account, too, such as a Gmail address, for online shopping. This way, emailed profits customarily go to this comment commissioned on your phone.

More: Gift cards not only for a holidays anymore

Scrub your history

Your online activity follows we around, so it’s critical to transparent your story and cache mostly – generally if you’re pity a laptop or desktop with your poignant other (and courteous kids).

Otherwise, if you’re researching a new 4K TV to warn a family, everybody who browses a web (or uses a hunt engine) after we competence see tributary advertisements for televisions – and thus, bond a dots. D’oh!

The choice to transparent story and cache will be in a Settings or Options area of your web browser, customarily permitted in a tip right of a page. Some browsers offer a “private” or “incognito” browsing option, too.

Retail solutions

Some online stores and marketplaces are assisting shoppers keep a secret.

Amazon Prime members, for example, could set adult Amazon Household, that allows everybody in a home – adult to dual relatives and adult to 4 kids – to any have their possess particular selling history, wish lists, and notifications. Amazon Household also lets we share Amazon Prime perks and your library of purchased digital calm (between adults).

Non-Amazon Prime members, on a other hand, can also “archive” an order, that will censor benefaction purchases from your sequence story (look underneath a “Your Orders” section). Similarly, Amazon has a “don’t spoil my surprises” choice for a wish list feature, as it’ll symbol bought equipment as unpurchased.

Another Amazon tip: Go to “Your Browsing History” territory afterwards click “Remove all items.” Or spin off your account’s Browsing History wholly by clicking on “Turn off browsing history.”

More: These are a 5 best deals we can get on Amazon right now

Ship it elsewhere

To equivocate a family saying their gifts as parcels on a porch, select to broach a packages to an swap address, such as a workplace, neighbor’s house, another family member, or opt for a buy-online-and-pick-up-in-store option.

If you’re selling on Amazon, we can also boat to a circuitously Amazon Locker, that are self-serve smoothness kiosks located in some-more than 2,000 spots opposite a country. Arrange to boat your gifts there and afterwards discretely collect it adult when we have a time.

Surf Report readers, do we have any “secret shopping” tips of your possess to share? Be certain to post your suggestions in a Comments section.

Follow Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. E-mail him during


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