How to Prevent Someone Else From Buying Stuff With Your Amazon Echo

Amazon wants you to use Alexa to buy things with just a voice command. It sounds handy, until you realize everyone from your black hat house guests to the news reporter on TV can order things from your account. Here’s how to make sure no one but you can buy things on Amazon with your Echo.

Alexa’s voice purchasing uses Amazon’s 1-Click Ordering settings. You can choose to give Amazon a default payment method and address to ship to, so you only have to click one button to order new stuff. While this is convenient, it’s not necessarily something you always want on. If you’ve never set up 1-Click Ordering, then Alexa won’t be able to buy stuff. It can add items to your Amazon shopping cart, but you’ll still need to visit the Amazon app or website to finish the order.

If you have enabled 1-Click Ordering, then you have a couple options to protect yourself from unauthorized purchases. To start, open the Alexa app on your phone and tap the menu button in the top-right corner, then tap Settings.

 

Scroll down to find “Voice Purchasing” and tap on it.

On the next screen, you have two options to control your purchases. The first, simplest option is to turn off voice purchasing entirely. If you never order things with voice commands but still have 1-Click Ordering set up, you should disable this toggle so no one can accidentally buy things from your account.

Alternatively, if you’d like to be able to buy things with Alexa, but don’t want to let anyone else hijack your account, you can enable a 4-digit confirmation code. This code will be spoken aloud, so you still won’t want to say it in front of anyone you don’t trust with your Amazon account, but it should stop the TV from accidentally ordering something, or your friends from playing a prank. Simply enter a four digit code in the box and tap “Save Changes.”

As Amazon points out on this screen, your confirmation code will appear in your history in the Alexa app, so it’s not the most secure thing in the world. Still, it’s better than letting anyone in your living room buy whatever they want on your dime.

Eric Ravenscraft covers smarthome tech for How-To Geek. He's a problem solver who never learned to say no to a project. When he's not fixing things, he's cosplaying at cons, playing video games, and watching too many comic book movies. You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram.