Stop ad stalking, throttling data refunds, TVs losing Netflix, and more: Tech Q&A

Your “Consumer Score”

Q: Is it true that online retailers give customers specific scores based on what they buy and return? How can I find out my score?

A: Yes, companies are using data points to create a profile about you, which can theoretically be sold to other companies. Keep in mind, this profile-making is completely legal, and there’s not much we can do to stop them. Meanwhile, the “score” is more complicated than most of us would expect. Instead of a specific number, like a credit score, think of this “consumer score” as more of a dossier. You can find your clandestine profile, but you'll have to be smart about what you ask to get it. Tap or click here to get your secret consumer profile score.

Phone Data Refund

Q: I was a victim of throttling by my carrier. I heard you mention on your radio show that I could get a refund if this happened to me. Please tell me more.

A: “Throttling” is when a phone carrier reduces data speeds. Several companies have done this, but the most recent offender was AT&T. According to an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), AT&T would offer unlimited data to its customers, the customers would cross a certain threshold of data usage, and then AT&T would throttle their data speeds. This act frustrated and mystified a lot of customers back in 2011, and it led to a class-action lawsuit. That suit has now been settled, and AT&T will pay total damages of about $60 million. If you were a victim of this wrongdoing, you can't expect to get rich, but you will have the satisfaction of a little money back. Tap or click here to see if you’re eligible for a refund from AT&T.

Ask Me Anything

Q: I have a few questions about SEO and making money online. What’s the best way for me to get your answers? I trust your success.

A: I’m actually fairly easy to reach. Sure, I’m a very busy media professional running a company, and yes, I spearhead a radio show, podcasts, a website, newsletters, TV appearances, and my own social media Komando Community platform – but if you have a legitimate question, I want to answer it. How do you do this? If you don’t mind several million people listening in, you can make an appointment to call into my show. Just visit this webpage and enter your information. If you're a little self-conscious about your question (or voice!), that's no problem. You can also leave your questions for me, along with other tech professionals, in my Komando Community forums. Tap or click here to participate in Komando Community.

TVs Losing Netflix

Q: I have an older TV. How long do you think I can still use it to get Netflix?

A: Older smart TVs, most of them made by Samsung, will no longer be able to play Netflix after Dec.1. You can expect the same issues from first-generation Roku devices, as well; the service that introduced streaming entertainment to your home will now display an error message. This new problem will probably strike a lot of customers as arbitrary and unfair, but Netflix claims it’s a compatibility error; the company has already developed a list of other smart TVs that you can buy instead, which will still be Netflix-compatible after the termination date. So if you have an older television, you may want to consult a list of makes and models that are about to go out of style. Tap or click here to see which older TVs will say goodbye to Netflix.

Stop Ad Stalking

Q: When I look at something to buy online, suddenly all the ads are for that product. How do I stop this creepy tracking?

A: What you're describing is called "targeted advertising." When you buy a particular product or service online, the website will likely send a cookie – or tiny file – onto your computer. This file will inform your computer that you purchased something, and your browser will start populating your screen with ads for similar or identical goods. There are several ways to reduce or even eliminate this kind of advertising: first, you can use a privacy-centric search engine like DuckDuckGo. Second, you can use a regular browser but change the settings so that you don't download cookies. Third, you can use a privacy mode on specific browsers, such as Google Chrome's "Incognito," to hide from stalkers. And there are at least two more techniques that can help you. Tap or click here for five ways to stop creepy ads from following you online.

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.