Consumer Reports: How to protect your online privacy

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- When you're online, all of your information is vulnerable and anyone can take advantage.

No matter what website you're on, it's likely your every move is being tracked. So Consumer Reports has got simple steps to help you take control of your personal information.

This has probably happened to you - when you search for a medical condition online, a related ad pops up on your screen.

"It's called digital tracking. It happens all the time. And we just think that companies should be able, in simple language, to tell you what information is being collected and how it's being used," said Jerry Beilinson, Chief Electronics Editor at Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports latest issue has page after page of advice for protecting your privacy.

Here are 4 easy steps you can take to limit digital tracking.

First, install an ad blocker, such as Privacy Badger. It blocks ads that come with tracking software.

Number 2, check your phone settings to see which apps are tracking your location, and turn off any that don't need to know.

Number 3, if you visit an unfamiliar website that demands your email, go to a site like, where you can get a functioning email that self-destructs after you use it.

And finally, be cautious of Google.

"As you use Google, it is just collecting a tremendous amount of information about you, and it does that no matter where you go online if you use Google search, Google maps, go to YouTube, using Gmail," said Beilinson.

You can see just how much Google tracks if you look under "My account" and then "My activity."

There are alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo that don't track their users.

If you want to stick with Google search, you can tweak the settings. You can delete the records of what you search and the YouTube videos you watch.

For more online privacy tips from Consumer Reports, CLICK HERE.
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