Facebook tracks you offline: How to make it stop

You may not agree with Facebook’s practices, but it’s hard to argue against its effectiveness. Advertisers are willing to pay big bucks to access your data collected through the social media platform.

Depending on your settings, social media sites and other big tech — Facebook included — monitor your online behavior, collect the information and sell it to advertisers so they can target you more effectively. Tap or click to see how Facebook even helps advertisers target you based on your credit score.

Now Facebook is taking a step in a startling new direction: the real world. Brick-and-mortar retail stores are partnering with Facebook to record your shopping habits so they can target you more effectively.

Before we venture into real life, take a second to lock down your Facebook profile. Tap or click for a settings you must change if you care about your privacy, including facial recognition.

This offline tracking is intrusive and annoying, but there is a way you can stop it. I’ll show you how.

Facebook wants in on your retail therapy

A new report from Business Insider found Facebook has been partnering with numerous brick-and-mortar retail stores to share shopping habits, demographic data and contact information to assist in the company’s targeted ad campaigns.

Information collected by the stores and Facebook includes the products you’ve bought, how much you spent, your contact info and even your name. This data is harvested when you check out at the register (usually via email receipts), and is matched against Facebook account and profile information.

That’s just for physical stores, though. Online fronts for these stores collect even more information about you and share it with Facebook, as this data is required to ship your order to your home. Tap or click here to see the most private, safe ways to pay online. (No, it’s not your credit card.)

The service, referred to as “off-Facebook activity,” is already in use by some of the country’s biggest retail chains — including Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

So if you see advertisements on Facebook or online sites that seem a bit too close for comfort, this is why.

RELATED: Prefer to do your shopping online? It’s time to lock down your Amazon account. Tap or click here for five settings you need to change.

Thanks again for being so creepy Facebook! How can I turn this ‘service’ off?

Just like with nearly all of Facebook’s more intrusive products, there’s a way to turn retail tracking off.

  • First, log into your Facebook account on your desktop computer.
  • Visit the platform’s ad settings page.
  • Once you’re in, locate the section labeled Ads based on data from partners.
  • Click on the box below and select Not allowed. This will stop Facebook from communicating with third parties that harvest your data.

Don’t forget this won’t stop Facebook from tracking your online activity if you’re logged in. This is yet another reason why you may want to reconsider using it in the first place.

BONUS TIP FOR EXTRA KNOW-HOW: How to see all the devices connected to your network

If you use wireless internet at home, you probably have several devices connected to your network. It’s so easy to keep piling on additional devices, too: your new laptop, another video game console, a new tablet or even your friend’s phone.

You may even begin to lose track of everything that’s connected, or worse, notice things that don’t belong. There may even be users who have tried to connect to your Wi-Fi network without your permission or knowledge.

This is bad news for a few reasons. Someone could be stealing your network bandwidth — or your personal information. Luckily, there are simple ways to determine which devices are connected to your network, and you can prune what should and shouldn’t be there.

Tap or click here to take a closer look at who’s using your connection.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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Learn about 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 her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.