Surprise! How to keep your Amazon holiday gift shopping a secret

The holidays will be here before you know it, and whether you like it or not, Amazon is an easy way to get something everyone will love.

If you have Amazon Prime, it offers many benefits beyond fast and free shipping. Tap or click on some of my favorites to make the most of that $15 a month.

Prime isn’t the only way to save money. Tap or click on five insider secrets to getting the most bang for your buck this holiday season.

Once you’ve chosen the perfect gifts, take a few steps to make sure you don’t spoil the surprise.

Prevent Alexa from spilling the beans

If you have an Echo device, Alexa can automatically notify you of shipping updates for items you order. Cool, except when Alexa loudly announces the delivery, spoiling a surprise. Now the recipient of your gift will know what to expect.

To retain the element of surprise for your gift orders, follow these steps to disable the feature in the Alexa app:

• Open the Alexa app on your phone.

• Faucet After > Settings.

• Picking out Notice.

• Select Amazon purchases.

• Uncheck the box labeled For Items in Delivery Updates under the heading Let Alexa say or show the titles of items you ordered.

Although nearly 70% of smart speaker owners use Alexa, there’s still a lot to learn. Here are 15 new Alexa commands you wish you knew sooner.

Clever ways to hide purchases

If you share the same Amazon account with another family member, there are ways to hide purchases and searches to avoid spoilers. Here are some options:

Archive an order

When you archive orders, this action hides gift purchases from your order history and can also hide items you no longer want to list or are just too embarrassed to reveal.

To archive an order, hover your cursor over Account and Lists > Your account and click on Your commands. Find the command you want to hide and click Archive order. This will remove the item from immediate view in your order history.

To note: Archived orders can still be viewed by accessing the Your account page and selecting Archived orders. These items can also be restored by selecting Unarchive order.

Delete items from your browsing history

To avoid revealing your gift ideas to the whole household, you can delete items from your browsing history. Hover your cursor over Account and Lists > Your account and click on Navigation history. A list of items you have viewed will appear. For each item you want to hide, tap Remove from view.

To note: If you want all searches to be hidden, turn off your account’s browsing history entirely by selecting Manage history and turns off Enable/disable browsing history.

Remove items from your recommendations

Another source of potential giveaway spoilers is Amazon’s Recommended List. This is an automated list of items that the algorithm thinks you’ll like based on past purchases.

To prevent certain purchases from influencing your recommendations, go to the Improve your recommendations section of Amazon, locate the item you want to exclude, then turn off Use this item for recommendations.

SAVE MONEY: Spend less by buying Amazon versions of popular products.

Ship to an Amazon Locker

Deliveries can also spoil the surprise. Nothing says “something is happening” more blatantly than a large Amazon box waiting at your front door, especially when special occasions like Christmas or your birthday are approaching.

You can still ship to a nearby Amazon Locker. What are Amazon lockers? Delivery sites are located in more than 900 US cities. You can ship an item to an Amazon Locker of your choice and then pick it up at a time that’s convenient for you.

To ship to an Amazon Locker, find your nearest Locker location while logged into your Amazon account and add it to your shipping address book. When you buy an item, you can select your Locker as the delivery address.

Once an item has been delivered to the locker, Amazon will email you the unique six-digit code you’ll need to retrieve it. Enter the code on the locker touch interface, wait for the locker door to open and collect your package.

To note: Although most items can be shipped to Amazon Lockers, size and weight restrictions still exist. You only have three calendar days to collect it, otherwise it will be sent back to Amazon for a refund. There are no additional charges for using an Amazon Locker, but standard shipping rates (including free Prime shipping) still apply.

Secure your Amazon account. A smart step is to delete your public Amazon profile. Tap or click for five security steps every Amazon shopper should follow.

Deliver to a different address

You can also ship to a different address by hovering over Account and Lists > Your account and clicking on Your addresses.

Click Add address and put the details. For security reasons, you will be asked to confirm your credit card each time you place an order using a new or changed address.

You can also delete or modify any address saved in this section.

Amazon Key

Amazon Key is an easy way to have Amazon packages delivered to your garage. It’s free for Prime members and works with Amazon, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods Market deliveries.

Hover your cursor over Account and Lists > Your account and click on Amazon Key Settings to start.

Keep your technological know-how

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today”. It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, click the link below for a recent episode.

PODCAST CHOICE: Social Media Smugglers, Meta Crash, Facebook Privacy Tips

Afraid of Apple AirTag stalkers? Here’s how to spot creeps stalking you. Also, beware of this TSA scam, hide your phone number and email address on Facebook, fix your charging issues and why Meta melts. Additionally, smugglers use Snapchat and TikTok to recruit Americans to drive migrants from the border into the United States.

Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.

Discover all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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