Is Your Personal Information Being Sold Online?
Last Updated: 2585 days ago
There is a dangerous new underworld operating on the Internet -- secret chat rooms and message boards where Social Security and credit card numbers, bank account details and personal identification numbers are a hot commodity.While its nearly impossible for the average person to locate these Web sites, computer savvy identity thieves have no trouble finding them.Dan Clements is on a mission to warn banks and consumers. He is with a company called CardCops, which has infiltrated hundreds of these dens."We see 426 hackers are in this room right this very minute," said Clements.One particular hacker, who calls himself Tiger, sells something called a full, which is described as a complete personal profile that includes a name, credit card number, date of birth and a PIN number. A thief could easily make charges, open new credit and possibly wipe out bank accounts. While it is costly for victims, the information comes cheap. A credit card number sells for about $2. If it comes with a PIN number, it can sell for $10."If you have access to the online bank account, they will sell it for anywhere from two percent to ten percent of the amount of money that's in your debit account," said Clements.Scott Holandas personal information and identity is available on a Web site frequented by thieves. His address, Social Security number and even his mothers maiden name are on display."I was very surprised when I was notified," said Holanda.He said he believes thieves got his information after he answered an e-mail that looked very real, but turned out to be a scam."It indicated that I was being charged for a purchase, and if the purchase was not accurate to return the e-mail with my personal information," said Holanda.That one small misstep forced Holanda to clean up a big mess. By the time he was notified, his credit card had already been fraudulently used."It was canceled, and a new card and number were issued, said Holanda.Experts on identity theft offer these tips to keep your personal information off the online underground: Never answer an e-mail asking for personal information Shred all financial paperwork For extra protection, set up a fraud alert with the credit bureaus so you are notified if anyone tries to open an account in your nameThe Federal Trade Commission suggests ordering a copy of your credit report annually to see if any unauthorized accounts have been opened in your name.
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