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How to protect your online identity

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Updated: 4/29/2013 11:58 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Hackers are looking at very public places to get your private information, but experts tell Action News, you can stop them in their tracks.

Most recently, -- created to bring relief to our wallets -- became a threat to customers. The couponing website just sent customers an email warning them that hackers infiltrated systems and may have gotten their personal information. So far, the hackers are getting away with it. Other popular websites are having the same problem.

"Many times, people will use that information, that same password on different sites on banking, on finance, and to uncover corporate secrets," said private investigator Jack McDowell.

McDowell says you can stop the cyber thieves in their tracks simply with a fake online identity.

"Maintaining a second identity online that is your online avatar is probably a good idea to keep you secure," he said.

McDowell says only banks and the government need to know your real name and social security number. He also suggests never storing your credit or debit card information on any website.

"A reloadable secure credit card that you can purchase separate of your day to day purchasing or your banking credit card would be the best option," he said.

As for passwords, McDowell recommends keeping them complicated with mixed words and numbers.

While investigators like McDowell are getting more skilled at tracking down hackers, he says prevention is key.

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