What the Tech? How Alexa stole Christmas

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(ABC 6 News) – Do you hide Christmas gifts to keep the kids from knowing what they’re getting? Kids (and some adults) are known to go snooping to see what they’re getting. If you shop at Amazon, the kids may not have to go sneaking around closets and under beds. Alexa can spoil the surprise.

Echo devices can announce what’s coming, what’s arrived, and what you’ve ordered just by asking the Echo device “Where’s my stuff?”, or “What did I order?” For example, when I asked Alexa to tell me what I ordered, she began naming 16 items I had ordered in the last 30 days.

To prevent Alexa from spoiling surprises, go into the Alexa app on your phone, tap settings, then shopping, and delivery notifications.

Make sure to turn off “let Alexa say or show titles for items you’ve ordered”. Otherwise, she’ll tell you what’s coming or has arrived whenever someone asks for a shipping update.

Your Amazon account will also show your recent orders of course. If someone opens your Amazon account and clicks on “orders”, they’ll see everything you’ve purchased in the last 30 days or longer.

You can hide those items by archiving the orders. On your order page, click on any item you want to hide, then look for the “archive order”. You’ll need to do this on a computer browser either on your computer or using a browser to access the account on a smartphone. I’ve found there is no option within the Amazon app.

After doing this you can still see it the order by going to your account and clicking “view archived orders”. At the very least this adds a level of privacy and is about the same as hiding a gift somewhere in the house.

It’s also easy for anyone to see what you’ve been shopping for on Amazon by looking at your browsing history. This will show everything you’ve searched for and items you’ve viewed in the last 30 days or more.

You can clear your browsing history by clicking on your account, selecting “browsing history” and then under “manage history” removing or clearing the browsing history.

You’ll need to use the app to make changes for these echo devices. But for the other settings, you’ll need to log in to your Amazon account on a computer browser.

During the holidays Alexa will not announce the item description when you ask what’s about to be delivered. Amazon changes this by default but you still may want to check it for yourself in settings to avoid risking Alexa spoiling Christmas morning surprises.