Web History Spoils Santa's Surprises

(NBC News) If you didn't completely empty your credit card on Cyber Monday, and you're searching online for holiday gifts, you may want to take some precautions to make sure kids, or your significant other, aren't doing the cyber equivalent of poking around in closets, under beds or in the attic.

Searching a browsing history or recommendation history can reveal the truth about what you're planning to purchase this holiday.

One mom, who's also a cyber-security advisor for McAfee, discovered her own tween daughter hacked her way to holiday spoilers.

"She had looked at our brower history to see what we were searching and she had also looked at my history on a popular shopping site amazon," said McAfee's Michelle Dennedy.

Dennedy says the same cookies and search tracking that personalize your online holiday shopping list can also reveal it.

"If you're not careful, you will have a viewing history and a recommendation history that's quite clear," warned Dennedy.

Web accounts generally track your search history, whether you're logged in on your phone, tablet or computer.

So, Suzanne Kantra of techlicious.com recommends opening a private browsing window before you shop

"Each of the major browsers has this "incognito" mode or private browsing mode. It's pretty obvious, you just go into the main selection for the file settings, "Kantara said.

After making a purchase, either lock, or at least, "snoop proof" your mobile device.

"Make sure the notifications and the package tracking information doesn't pop up and notify your kids and your spouse that that package is arriving," Kantra advises.

If you do suspect your tech-savvy kids are snooping you can always give them a dose of their own medicine uniquely specific searches.

"Where to buy the most coal. Or, my favorite, reform schools for the unreformable," joked Dennedy.

The "incognito" window or "private browsing" windows do not keep search histories or cookies, but your internet provider or your employer can still track those pages you visit.

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