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The following is for informational purposes only

What Is a Dark Web Scan & How To Perform It?

No service guarantees a 100% scan of the Dark Web, but you can use some quick-scanning online services to find out if your data was hacked or exposed by a data breach and is available on the Dark Web. Dark Web Monitoring tools are designed to constantly monitor the Internet for your compromised sensitive data, including:

  • Usernames and passwords;
  • Driver's license data;
  • Social security number;
  • Debit and credit card numbers;
  • Email, postal, and IP addresses.

When these tools encounter leaked personal data, you're alerted right away.

What To Do If Your Information Is On The Dark Web

If you're notified by a credit monitoring service or by an identity theft protection provider that your sensitive information was found on the dark web, there's nothing you can do about the already-stolen data. You can't contact the head of the Dark Web and politely ask to take the info down, BUT you can:

  • Alert the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service (in case the hackers stole your Social Security Number);
  • Change your passwords (when your login credentials appeared on the dark web).

The next step would be to take a few precautionary steps and prevent identity thieves from accessing your information again:

  • Contact each credit bureau individually and place a credit freeze;
  • Create complex, unique passwords and store them in a password manager;
  • Sign up for credit monitoring and keep an eye on your credit reports;
  • Use additional security steps (two-factor authentication) for your online banking account or email;
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi networks, or if you must use them, don't access important accounts or info because hackers can easily intercept even the online traffic via password-protected networks.

How Does Dark Web Monitoring Work? 

How to scan the dark web

The Dark Net, known as the Internet's shadowy underbelly, is a network of anonymously-hosted websites with encrypted content within the deep web. Because it's a very dynamic digital environment that is constantly changing to avoid Distributed Denial-Of-Service (DDoS) attacks, it's impossible to be monitored 100%, although some parts of it are moderated (for instance, private forums). Some cyber-monitoring companies do offer dark web scanning services by plumbing the depths of the dark web when people want to know if their personal identity information is sold on the dark net.

Is Your SSN On The Dark Web?

You can perform a deep web search, a dark web scan or you can receive a notification of a dark web alert regarding your SSN's unauthorized presence on the dark web. However, this only means that your data is for sale on the fraudulent dark markets and it can be used at any point by cybercriminals to commit identity theft.

How To Search On TOR Browser?

TOR Browser is also a search engine and you can use it as any other regular browser. Just type some keywords or search terms in the address bar and press Enter. Since TOR is a modified version of Mozilla Firefox, the user interface is similar and if you've ever used Firefox, it'll be a piece of cake to conduct a search from any operating system (Windows, Linux, Apple macOS).

Is TOR a VPN?

TOR is a free browser that encrypts the Internet connection through many layers to protect the user's privacy. TOR routes info through an unsystematic set of servers run by volunteers. TOR is painfully slow, has low device compatibility, doesn't allow access to all sites, and could trigger legal trouble. VPN, on the contrary, is a significantly more secure choice. It encrypts your requests through an intermediary server from a different location chosen by the user. The difference is that this server is operated by a VPN service provider, making it more reliable.

Can You Be Tracked On TOR?

TOR browser is very efficient in making user's location and online traffic impossible to trace due to its heavy-duty, multi-layered encryption.

How To Remove My Information From Dark Web?

How do you remove your information from the dark web?

If your personal information is on the dark web, you cannot remove it nor stop it from being spread, sold, and resold by cyber-criminals. However, you can minimize the risks of being a victim of ID theft:

  • If your passwords are published on the dark web, change it on every account you use them and for extra safety, add 2-step security verifications.
  • If your Social Security Number is available on the dark web, notify the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.
  • If your passport or driver's license or is exposed to the darknet, contact the U.S. State Department or your Department of Motor Vehicles, respectively.
  • If your bank account or credit card numbers have reached the dark web, contact your card issuer immediately.

What does Dark Web alert mean?

Dark Web alert is an identity theft prevention notification received when you sign up for a Dark Web monitoring service. People who have been victims of a data breach receive this alert as soon as their personal information is found on the dark web by a cyber-monitoring company they hired.

Can You Get a New Identity On The Dark Web?

The dark digital world makes it possible to purchase any type of personal documents, including IDs, driving licenses, birth certificates, bachelor's or master's degrees, passports, and even bank account numbers. Fugitives who hide from authorities, political or economic refugees – they can all just buy a brand new identity from the dark web's identity thieves, counterfeiters, and ID brokers. As a general rule, cybercriminals always prefer untraceable payment methods such as the leading cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. The price depends and is differentiated based on attributes like "verifiable", "authentic", "registered", as opposed to "counterfeit" or "fake". A new American identity costs around 0.26 BTC + $1,300, while an US passport is $850.

 

How To Check If Someone Is Using My Identity?

How can I find out if someone is using my identity?

To determine if someone uses your identity, you can:

  • Run free credit reports (contact credit reporting agencies online for free);
  • Regularly check your credit card and bank statement for unusual charges;
  • Check your Social Security Administration benefits and earnings statement for suspicious activity;
  • Pay attention to messages sent by your bank - many banks have set up fraud alert systems to notify clients about potential scams, phishing;
  • Call 1-877-ID THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or visit the Federal Trade Commission's specialized website at IdentityTheft.gov.

Do identity thieves get caught?

According to a study completed in 2006, just 1 in 700 identity theft suspects was arrested by the FBI. At an arrest rate of 0.14%, it's fair to say that the majority of the identity thieves get away with it and rarely get caught.

What Is The Most Common Identity Theft Method?

"Shoulder Surfing" remains the most frequent (also "traditional") way of stealing someone's identity. By using old-fashioned peeking or spying when someone uses an ATM or any cash-dispensing machine to carry a financial transaction, the thief finds out the credit card or account number, PIN, or password.

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