Ever heard the term “dark web”? No, we didn’t just make it up. It is a real and serious problem plaguing consumers in this exceptionally mobile market.  

The dark web is a “hidden network of websites that require special tools to access. Not accessible from typical search engines like Google or Safari, it is consider the “bottom” part of the internet.”

This is where criminals buy and sell stolen personal information, which includes driver’s license numbers, debit or credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, medical records and more. They can purchase single pieces of information, batches of the same kind (like credit card numbers) or various types of information packaged together.

Some of the most commonly sold pieces of personal information are:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Payment services logins, like PayPal or Venmo
  • Credit or debit card numbers
  • Driver’s License numbers
  • Diplomas
  • US Passports
  • Non-financial institution logins
  • Medical records

According to Javelin Strategy & Research, “16.7 million consumers found themselves victims of identity fraud in 2017.” Identity theft is one of the most common complaints to the Federal Trade Commission and recovering from it is a process. We’re not trying to scare you or overwhelm you, but it’s important to stay vigilant about your personal information. How do you keep yourself from being part of that statistic?  Consider these steps:

  • Update firewalls and virus-protection software on your computer
  • Enable security features on mobile devices
  • Change your passwords often
  • Monitor all your accounts and statements for anything out of the ordinary
  • Complete a regular credit report check for new accounts you’ve not opened
  • Shred receipts, credit card offers, and account statements
  • Store personal information in safe place. Do not carry your Social Security card with you
  • Look into identity protection services that monitor online activity


*What do you do if identity theft happens to you? Visit identitytheft.gov to file report it and make a plan!*