For more information about scams, visit cyber.gov.au/learn/scams.
Check your settings
The big social media sites and other apps that most people trust with their information offer privacy controls, so make sure you use them. Every once in a while, check your settings and see if you’re OK with how your data is being used or how much information you’re sharing with other people, including potential advertisers. If you’re not happy, change it up! For more info about privacy settings see The eSafety Guide.
On an iPhone you can go to Settings > Privacy to check which tracking and advertising options are active and which ones you would like to limit. For an Android phone, go to Settings > Privacy and find the Ads section to opt in or out of the ad preferences. Although this may not limit the amount of ads you see, it will make them less personally targeted, if that’s what you prefer.
Different apps and online platforms have their own tracking and advertising settings you can manage and change as well, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube. Check out The eSafety Guide for more information.
You can also reduce the amount of spam you receive by:
- limiting disclosure of email addresses and mobile numbers
- installing and using spam filtering software
- checking the terms and conditions when buying products, entering competitions or registering for services or email newsletters
- not allowing contact details to be used for marketing purposes (making sure you check the opt out box).
Cookies are small text files storing information about your browsing activity, allowing websites to recognise you and save your settings. There are different types of cookies, such as ‘session cookies’ that last for one browsing session, and ‘persistent cookies’ that remain on your device after you close your browser. Although there are other ways you can be tracked online, deleting your cookies will limit some access.
To delete cookies, go to the settings within your browser and look for a section that allows you to ‘manage cookies’.
Log out of social media sites and emails when you browse the web
Another simple strategy is to log out of your social media sites and email accounts while you are doing other things online. That means actually logging out, not just closing the tab. This won't stop you from being tracked online, but it will make it harder for these services to link your behaviour with your name or details of your previous browsing history and social media footprint.
Avoid using social media accounts to sign in
If you can avoid using your social media accounts to sign into other apps or accounts, this will reduce the information the new app or account has access to. When you use your social media account to sign into other apps or online accounts you are often agreeing that this new account is allowed to have access to all the information you share in your other account.
Use private or incognito mode
Most browsers give you an option to browse the web privately or use ‘incognito’ mode. This means that the history of any sites you visit and any cookies from sites you go to won’t be stored in your browser.