Get a Second (or Third) E-Mail Account
Never use your real e-mail address in online chat rooms. Never use it when shopping online, and never use it to register at any website. "If you have ever done business online," says John Hambrick, an FBI supervisory special agent with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, "you have to expect that your e-mail address will be compromised; there is [then] the potential for that account to be stolen or sold."

So do what the G-man does: Establish a separate e-mail account—free on MSN's Hotmail, Yahoo!'s Mail or Google's Gmail—and use it specifically and exclusively for online purchases. The Hambrick trick should make your private accounts less vulnerable.

How to Protect Yourself
When choosing a free e-mail address for online shopping, some people opt for a pseudonym or non-identifier. As long as you have valid payment information, most retailers won't care whether or not it matches your real name. But which free service is best? "Currently, Gmail probably gets the edge," says Dr. Tygar. "It is excellent at detecting spam and phishing, though Hotmail and Yahoo are improving quickly."
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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