The ease of Amazon.com — and for the luxe and lucky ones out there, Amazon Prime — has monumentally changed the average shopping experience. The rise of the online shopping conglomerate has changed the consumer landscape, and there is in no way a consensus on whether or not the massive shift online is altogether a net positive.
However, if you, like so many out there, have embraced Amazon, there are precautions you can take to increase the safety and privacy of your experience. Below, check out our tips on how to increase your Amazon security.
If you’ve checked out any of the other installments in this series, you’ll know this suggestion always tops the list. While it seems simple, crafting a unique password is the easiest first step to increasing the security of your account.
Choose a strong password that you’ve never used for another site before, and will never use for another site after. Yes, it’s easier on the memory to use one password across the board for all your accounts. But the practice, while common, leaves you vulnerable. If a hacker or other interloper gains access to your information for any of your sites, the person can then get into all of them.
It is especially vital to create a new unique password if your current Amazon password is the same as one you’ve used on a site that you’ve since learned is vulnerable or has been on the receiving end of a breach. Make sure to change any potentially compromised passwords to a completely fresh choice.
Pay Attention To Credit Cards
On the same note, while you can’t use different credit cards for every single site you use, you should pay attention to potential vulnerabilities in the financial information you have connected to your Amazon account.
If that same card is attached to a site that has been compromised, make sure to take the steps with your financial institutions to re-secure your monetary accounts, and then update your Amazon account settings to use the newly safeguarded card information.
After creating a strong password, Amazon builds in an option for a second layer of log-in security in the form of two-step verification. This creates an extra step after you enter your password, requiring you to type in a code sent to you (typically via SMS) before gaining access to your account.
To enable two-step verification for your Amazon account, head to your account and click Login and Security. Then scroll down to Advanced Security Settings and click Edit.
On the next page, you’ll see a Two-Step Verification section. To the right of it, click Get Started.
You can then choose the verification method — SMS or phone call — and choose the phone number you’d like to link to the process. Then click Send code. Once you’ve received it, type it in and click Verify and continue. On the next page, you’ll choose your final two-step preference settings. Then click Got it. Turn on 2-step verification, and your new security method will be set to go.
[Are you a PayPal user? Click here to learn how to enhance your security for that mobile payment platform.]
Avoid Off-Site Payment Scams
Amazon warns against potential scams involving your financial information. For the best safety practices, never navigate off site during the process of a purchase. According to the company, all legitimate Amazon transactions occur onsite.
Scammers may also try to trick you by claiming Amazon gift card information can be used for external transactions. In reality, Amazon gift cards can only be used directly on Amazon.com. If you release gift card information to third parties, you are just giving them access to spend the connected money.
Disconnect From Social Accounts
Amazon provides the option to link your account to Facebook and Twitter. This can detract from the privacy of your account activity as it opens the door to social media sharing options and to product suggestions based on Facebook likes.
If your accounts are linked, you can easily start the disconnection process. To do this, head to your account and go to Manage Your Account. Then scroll down to Account Settings and click more. Scroll down to Account Details and click Disconnect Your Facebook Account from Facebook. You’ll be taken to a new page with a link you can click to access your Social Settings. From there, you an set connection choices for both Facebook and Twitter.
Embrace Biometric Security for Amazon App
If you use Amazon with a mobile app, you have the option to add a layer of biometric (i.e. Touch ID or Face ID) security. If enabled, you’ll be able to use this measure of precaution, as opposed to re-entering your password when the app needs to confirm your identity.
To enable the feature from an iPhone, go to your general phone settings and find your list of apps. Open Amazon. You’ll see a section marked Sign in, and an option to Toggle on Biometric authentication. Once enabled, the toggle will turn green.
Amazon has likely opened up a new chapter of ease in your lifestyle. But as with many internet trends, security practices don’t always get prioritized in the fast jump toward convenience. To reduce vulnerabilities in your online presence, take a few moments to adjust your settings.