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Cover Your On-Line Tracks

An abuser can track your Internet activities, including websites you have visited and searches you have done. There are ways to cover your tracks online but you need to be careful.

Delete your browsing history

  • For Internet Explorer: Choose Tools > Internet Options and click Delete Files.

  • For Firefox: Choose "Clear Recent History"

  • For Safari: Choose "History" and at the bottom of the drop down screen select "Clear History"

  • For Netscape: Choose Tools > Options, pick Privacy and click the Clear button next to Cache.

To avoid doing this every time you surf the internet, you can disable the cache so nothing is documented.

Turn off AutoComplete

People can also detect where you’ve been if you have AutoComplete switched on. How do you know if it’s active? Type a few letters of a URL into your web browser and you’ll see previous entries of other searches appear. To turn it off, go to your Internet Options tab and navigate to the option that allows you to turn off AutoComplete.

Clear Toolbar Data

If you use the Google toolbar, or Yahoo, Alexa, or any other browser toolbars, make sure you know how to clear the search data there as well. If not, when someone types something into the toolbar’s search area, it brings up your history which shows things you’ve searched on before that begin with the same letter or same word.

Clearing the toolbar will vary from one to another, but in Google’s toolbar for example, you’d click on the search box drop down and click “clear history”.

Glossary of terms

History Web browsers keep a list of websites you have visited. You can look at your own history by clicking on the history button on your toolbar, or by pressing the "control" and "H" keys together.

Cache Files Automatically saves web pages and graphics. Anyone who looks at the cache file on your computer can see what information you have looked at recently.

AutoFill/AutoComplete Some web browsers are set to remember words or phrases you have previously typed in so anyone online can see websites you've looked at and searches you've done.

Cookies Are pieces of information from websites you have visited. This information lets these websites show a person's browsing patterns.

You can begin by deleting these files so your computer doesn't show the websites you have visited.

Extra protection

If your abuser is comfortable with computers and sees that you have deleted files, he or she may get angry or suspicious. If this is a possibility, try to use a different computer, like one at the library, work or a friend's house.


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