Don’t Be A Statistic, Protect Your Identity From The Dark Web
Did you know that there’s a new victim of identity theft every two seconds?1 In 2017 alone, 1 in 15 people became a victim of hacker/security breaches, totaling to about 16.7 million people. Unfortunately, over 1 million of those who were affected were children.
According to Experian.com, the dark web makes up about 3% of the internet and is the place where all of your sensitive information might live in the event of a data breach. Types of sensitive information that is of value to hackers includes credit and debit cards, medical information, Social Security numbers, passports, medical records and driver’s licenses. Once it’s on the dark web, your data could be bought and sold from person to person, some information for only $1.2
How Identity Theft Happens
There are multiple ways in which your identity can be stolen, but some of the most common methods include data breaches, internet hacking, credit card theft, Wi-Fi hacking, and dark web marketplaces.3 With this information, thieves can then engage in fraudulent activities such as opening up credit cards, use your existing credit cards to make purchases, sell your information on dark web marketplaces, file fraudulent taxes and commit medical fraud.
Unfortunately, even children aren’t safe from identity theft. Hackers can open up credit cards in their names, along with other lines of credit. Because it can go undetected for an extended period of time, identity theft against children can cause significant long-term damage.4
How to Protect Yourself
Identity theft can result in immediate financial loss, damage to your credit, IRS penalties and permanent loss of your accounts as they have been taken over by internet thieves. It can take weeks to determine if identity theft has taken place, and it’s important to take the safety precautions necessary to ensure that your identity, and the identity of your children, is unscathed and unseen by those lurking on the dark web. While you cannot control data breaches, there are still ways you can protect yourself and your family5:
- Regularly check your credit report to detect any suspicious activity
- Continually monitor your accounts and statements
- Don’t connect to Wi-Fi in public places that you do not trust
- Frequently change your passwords and make them strong/complicated
- Use dark web scans and antivirus software
- Protect your child’s Social Security number by only sharing it when absolutely necessary, and monitor their personal information closely
1 “What Are Your Odds of Getting Your Identity Stolen?” IdentityForce.com. https://www.identityforce.com/blog/identity-theft-odds-identity-theft-statistics (accessed March 18, 2019).
2 “Here’s How Much Your Personal Information Is Selling For on the Dark Web.” Experian.com. https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/heres-how-much-your-personal-information-is-selling-for-on-the-dark-web/ (accessed March 18, 2019).
3 “What Is Identity Theft?” Experian.com. https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/what-is-identity-theft/ (accessed March 18, 2019).
4 “Do You Know How to Protect Your Child from Identity Theft?” Experian.com. https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/know-protect-child-identity-theft/ (accessed March 18, 2019).
5 “What Is The Dark Web?” Experian.com. https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/what-is-the-dark-web/ (accessed March 18, 2019).