MARCH 10, 2022 | Kevin Gates

Things You Should Do if Your Personal Information Lands on the Dark Web 

You may have heard some creepy tales about the world of the dark web but you are confused whether these stories are true or just tales. Rest assured that the dark web exists and your own credentials may someday fall on it. The dark web is a haven for criminals to do buying and selling of financial records for different companies. You can only save your company from such kinds of incidents if you take preemptive security measures. Also, in the event of misfortune, there are different services that can alert you. They can inform you if and when your personal data appears on the dark web. Once you have this knowledge, it’s on you to take action to avoid becoming the victim of fraud or identity theft. 

Facts show that it is nearly impossible for businesses to completely avoid the dangers of the dark web.  Given the prevalence of cyber-attacks and data breaches, the likelihood that your data falls on the dark web is probable. So, you must have information on what steps you should take when anything of this sort occurs with you. And to enlighten you on this, here we have enlisted some of the very useful actions that you should take to avoid becoming the victim of fraud. 

How Does the World of Dark Web Operate? 

You can consider the dark web as the “hidden” part of the internet world. This part is inaccessible if you try with a regular web browser. The content and information that resides on the dark web is encrypted and requires special authorization to access. You can surf the dark web through Tor, a tool that hides IP addresses, locations, and other such information.

As the world of the dark web is anonymous, it’s home to a lot of shady or illegal activities like drug deals, arms sales, trafficking, smuggling, and worse. Additionally, it is also an ideal place for criminals to buy and sell identity information, such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, medical records, passports, and email addresses. It is estimated that you can buy an SSN can go for $1, a diploma for $400, and a U.S. passport for $1000. 

Steps to Take in the Event of Compromised Credentials on the Dark Web: 

The following are the actions that are very effective for you to avoid any kind of fraud from happening with your credentials.  

Change Passwords for Compromised Accounts:  

When you get the information, which specific accounts have been compromised, change the passwords of those accounts right away. Create the new passwords as dissimilar as possible from the previous ones. Also, update all other accounts that use the same or similar credentials. 

Contact Your Credit Card Issuers: 

You must inform your credit card issuer about the compromise particularly when account numbers have been unveiled on the dark web. Once this information falls on the dark web, it is almost impossible to call it back, but you can mitigate the damage. When you notify the issuers, they will provide you with new credit cards with new account numbers. Also, don’t forget to destroy the old cards as soon as you receive the new ones. 

Notify Your Bank Immediately: 

Once you find out that your personal information has landed on the dark web, notify your bank as early as possible. Otherwise, you will put your bank accounts and your money at risk. Most banks share a dedicated fraud hotline where customers can report suspicious activity and update their accounts with special alerts.  

After the bank is notified, the next thing you should do is to check your statements carefully. Look for any suspicious activity, including small debits and credits that can hint at unauthorized access. If you have active online access to your bank accounts, you should change the passwords and security questions as well. 

Check Your Credit File: 

You must check your credit files on a daily basis and having your credentials on the dark web gives you an extra nudge. There are different sources that you can try for free to check your credit report. But when doing so, beware of scam sites that charge for ongoing credit monitoring and other services. You can sign up for those free services if you wish, but you are not required to pay to view and review your credit file. 

Freeze Your Credit Reports: 

If you think you should do extra for security, freeze your credit file in the wake of a security breach or dark web issue. Doing so means no one, not even you, can initiate an inquiry or open a new account, and that can protect you from lurking identity thieves. All in all, it is better to take preemptive measures to avoid security breaches. But as no security is cent percent breach-proof, learn the aforementioned steps to avoid frauds from happening with your credentials.