Stores Track Shoppers Using Cell Phone WiFi

By: Brittany Gunter
By: Brittany Gunter

Holiday shopping is in full swing, but as you shop, be aware some stores me be digitally tracking your every move.

Since Black Friday and even before customers have been packing into stores looking for the perfect gifts, but as you go from electronics, to the clothes aisle, to jewelry, something you may not realize, the store may be tracking you.

It’s an idea some shoppers aren’t too fond of. “I value my privacy and don’t like the intrusion.”

The stores do it by using your cell phones WiFi and these days most of us have our cell phones with us. “I don’t miss important phone calls from family or friends.”

Associate Professor at UNO, Robin Gandhi, says stores use the information for their benefit and the shoppers. “Typically this type of data is shipped to third party processors who will crunch all this data and come up with some type of intelligence that stores can use for better product placement, better display and signage, just to target their customers better.”

The catch, stores don’t have to tell you they’re doing this. “This is an area of great concern for people that value their privacy or at least would like to be notified that their movement is being tracked.”

There is something you can do though if you don’t want to be tracked. If you turn off the WiFi on your phone while you’re in the store or change the security settings so that you phone is searching for WiFi, then the stores can’t get the signal.

At this point there’s no way to know which stores are tracking or not. All you can do is log-off when you’re going in.

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