This is the time of year that makes it even more fun to step away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Scary movies, costumes, haunted houses and hayrides, trick-or-treating with family, and dreaming about all things ghosts and ghouls. If only our biggest worry was to not run out of candy on Hallows’ eve!
Unfortunately, there are digital monsters lurking in the real-world — scammers and hackers. We may not be able to see them but, whether you’re one or 101-years-old, they can really wreak havoc. This is the inevitable circle of identity theft, and how the threat haunts us throughout our entire lives.
Identity theft is ranked as one America’s most-feared crimes. In fact, a recent Gallup poll reported that two-thirds of respondents’ fear identity theft, whereas 30 percent have a fear of being a victim of terrorism and 18 percent worry about being murdered.
A Bump in the Night: Where Identity Thieves Lurk in the Shadows
Many of us consume the internet daily. However, most have only been on the “Surface Web,” which comprises a mere 4 percent of the World Wide Web. This is where your social media sites, online shopping retailers, news feeds, or blog sites live. While even trusted sites like Facebook and Google can experience data breaches that expose us, the true depth of the internet may frighten you.
The remaining 96 percent is what’s known as the Deep Web, which contains protected information like tax data and medical records. The Deep Web is where you’ll find what’s known as the Dark Web, or the black market of the internet. Virtually every activity and transaction that occurs on this hidden layer of the internet is illegal – including the buying and selling of our Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
Here’s a news clip that came out in 2017 post Equifax breach about how PII was being found and sold on the Dark Web.
What’s in Your Dark Web Goodie Bag?
When it comes to PII, anything that could possibly be used against you has value to fraudsters. On October 17, 2018, 35 million voter records from 19 states were found for sale by a Dark Web vendor. And, we’ve recently seen Facebook and Netflix credentials for sale for around $3 per record.
While these pieces of data can ultimately lead to fraud, it’s the information that is most unique, and least-likely to have been used, that determines how valuable it is. For example, a newborn’s identity profile sells for $300 on the Dark Web because they are a clean slate that few (if any) others have exploited. That makes them a much higher target in what’s become a growing crime – child identity theft.
Want to take a peak at what else is in your Dark Web goodie bag? Our Chief Strategy Officer, Heidi Daitch, explains what other pieces of your information are for sale, and for how much.
Don’t Be Afraid | Take Control Today
It’s true that the odds of identity theft are scary, especially in light of the frequency of today’s data breaches. But, despite the many ways that scammers, hackers, and fraudsters get their hands on our PII, there are ways to stay protected.
By enrolling in IdentityForce’s top-rated identity theft protection, you can protect yourself and your family, or your employees, and even your customers, from being preyed upon by those who lurk in the darkest shadows of the Internet.
Treat yourself with a 14-day Free Trial.