For those of us who are a tech-naive, “The Dark Web” refers to the shadowy paths and corners in the world wide web. It’s a space where users can act without worrying about scrutiny and control.
People use the Dark Web for simple transactions, but many people use its anonymity for nefarious purposes. The websites and communications there are protected by encryption mechanisms. The most popular is a free and open source called Tor, but there are also corners of the web where criminals and hackers trade in passwords, stolen credit cards, and even child pornography.
“‘It’s like Amazon for thieves,’ says Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center” to the Kiplinger Report.
Knowing is the first step.
The Federal Trade Commission lists signs you may be the victim of identity theft, edited here for convenience:
- You see withdrawals you can’t explain.
- Debt collectors call about accounts you don’t have.
- Credit card bills show charges you didn’t make.
- The IRS claims you owe taxes you have paid.
- Your bank or credit card providers tell you that their databases have been breached.
Now, knowing may be the first step, but you must stop identity theft before it can destroy your financial freedom.
How to stop identity theft
You need to move fast and prudently to stop identity theft opportunities as soon as possible in as many ways as you can:
- Review your records and those of your spouse and family members to see if their identities have also been compromised.
- Let your bank and creditors know. Most of them have toll-free numbers to reach fraud specialists who will help you resolve your problem.
- Contact your credit reporting agencies to enter a fraud alert. While you’re at it, you can freeze those credit reports to protect your credit from further damage.
- If you have lost money to theft or fraud, you should contact your police fraud division and the FTC immediately.
- Copy your police and FTC reports to each of your creditors and request evidence from them.
- Assume your Social Security identity has been compromised, and contact them about your concerns.
- You must change your computer passwords across all your devices and should change your driver’s license number.
Taking first steps first
The right Dark Web monitoring tools offer users considerable confidence that the cyber-criminals and hackers lurking out there use practices and techniques that can be observed with careful monitoring.
Good tools will find and identify patterns and habits that indicate your data is being watched and threatened. And, what you need to receive instant notifications if your identity turns up on the Dark Web.
If you accept that knowing is the first step, you cannot wait to secure Dark Web monitoring today, at a cost affordable to you, your family, and small business identity.