What Is Dark Web Monitoring?

Dark web monitoring is an identity theft prevention product that monitors your personal information on the dark web. If your private data is found anywhere online, you will receive an alert. 

The dark web is where identity thieves do their damage, selling personal information such as Social Security numbers, bank account, and credit card information among other things. If you’re concerned about your information being exposed on the dark web, you might consider dark web monitoring. 

What Is the Dark Web?

The dark web is the private underbelly to the internet. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari won’t bring you there. You’ll need a unique browser, such as Tor, which disguises the IP addresses of computers connected to the internet to provide privacy and anonymity. 

By masking IP addresses, fraudsters can commit crimes without detection – including identity theft. These criminals often get their information by penetrating the databases of both large corporations and small companies. These security breaches are on the rise, with 3,813 breaches reported through the first six months of 2019, which exposed over 4.1 billion records. 

What Is Dark Web Monitoring?

Dark web monitoring products scan the dark web to see if your private information is for sale there. Companies like ScoreSense can execute these dark web scans that access large databases to discover stolen usernames, passwords, Social Security numbers, and credit card numbers for sale. 

Companies offering dark web monitoring usually have tools to search the private world of the dark web, including sites that sell personal and financial information. These products are on the lookout for signs that your personal information may have been compromised. To that end, these monitoring products may check your credit reports, financial accounts, public records commercial databases and millions of websites looking for suspicious activity. 

What If My Personal Information Is For Sale on the Dark Web?

Typically, these monitoring products will notify you when your personal information is found on the dark web. The goal of credit monitoring products is early detection to allow you to take action and protect yourself from further fraud and identity theft. 

Some identity theft monitoring products may also give you guidance or even one-on-one counseling to guide your next steps to take to fix the problems they discover. Some of these products go the extra mile and, with your permission, they will address the problems on your behalf. 

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

Although the dark web contains illicit behavior and practices, it doesn’t have to ruin your life. Consumers can still take steps to protect their personal information and keep thieves at bay.

Lockdown your passwords

When it comes to passwords, it’s widely accepted that the longer they are, the better. Mix random numbers, letters and special characters to make it difficult to crack. 

Change your passwords regularly to keep thieves guessing. If your password is on the dark web, it won’t matter much if it’s an old password that bears no resemblance to your new password.

If that sounds like a lot of work, consider using a password manager like LastPass to automate the process. 

Automate monitoring your credit reports.

Criminals can share your information on the dark web at any time, so checking your credit report once per year may not be enough to detect errors and fraud. 

Consider a monitoring product, such as ScoreSense Identity Theft Monitoring, to receive alerts for changes and questionable activity on your credit reports. 

Check your credit and bank accounts regularly for unauthorized transactions. 

Discovering errors and suspicious activity early may help reduce the impact of identity theft. If you do discover fraud, contact the necessary financial companies and credit bureaus to inform them of your findings. 

Apply a security freeze to your credit reports

Federal law now requires the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to freeze and unfreeze your credit at your request for free. With a security freeze in place, lenders you do not already work with are unable to access your credit report, making it next to impossible for you or thieves to open new credit accounts. 

Contact each credit bureau to request a security freeze, also known as a credit freeze. The credit bureaus will give you a PIN which you’ll use to turn your credit reports on and off. With so many Americans being compromised (stat) by security breaches, a security freeze seems like a sound idea. 

The Bottom Line

Victims of identity theft often discover their information has been sold, sometimes many times, on the dark web. These identity thieves often obtain their information through security breaches. They then sell private consumer data, such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and bank card numbers on the dark web. 

It’s unlikely that security breaches are going away anytime soon, so your best course of action may be to protect yourself as best as you can. Change your passwords often and place a fraud alert or a security alert on your credit reports. Pay careful attention to your bank and credit card statements for any transactions you don’t recognize.

Let ScoreSense scour the dark web and notify you about suspicious activity with ScoreSense® Identity Theft Monitoring.

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