Even inexperienced hackers easily break into private movie networks or steal personal data of Internet users from all over the world. Every day, thousands of logins and passwords end up on the black market, with prices starting at just a few dollars. Victims of identity theft only realize when they are affected by the crime.
Personal information on the black market
Identity is a set of unique characteristics that identify you as a person and distinguish you from other people. When you use the Internet, you leave a digital footprint. With each subsequent registration, subscription or purchase, you more or less create your online image, and at the same time expose yourself to others.
Losing your online identity is one of the biggest and, unfortunately, most difficult to control risks associated with online activity. Despite numerous safeguards and cybersecurity education, the scale of this phenomenon is deepening and black market demand is growing. Selling personal information is not only done by professional hackers, but also by amateurs, as online identity theft is not as difficult as it might seem. See how much information you can get from one click on Facebook:
It’s not just social media accounts that are the focus of thieves. Hackers are stealing:
• basic personal information (name, surname, date of birth, address)
• online bank accounts, statements, credit card number, CVV code,
• health insurance information,
• player profiles on gaming platforms,
• virtual databases.
Cyber-attacks or dishonesty of ordinary employees?
Most often, cybercriminals launch phishing attacks or use keyloggers. With their help alone, they acquire several hundred thousand logins and passwords alone every week, which then end up on the black market. In the process, they not infrequently prey on the dead. They follow the obituaries and even before the paperwork is completed, the hackers empty the bank account or take advantage of the deceased’s creditworthiness.
In addition to industry professionals, a significant portion of those selling digital data on the Darknet are administrative employees. Trading credentials for private company networks and the personalities of employed people is their additional source of income. They want as much as $150,000 for a “package” of records, and there is no shortage of those willing to buy.
The price for a new identity
Does this mean that your identity is of great value? Not necessarily. Prices for individual ID scans start at just a few dollars, and you can buy access to someone’s PayPal account for less than $50. The fee depends on the origin, type, personalization and number of pieces purchased, among other factors.
Digital identity theft by individuals
To steal someone’s digital identity, you don’t have to immediately look into the black market and pay for the data. Some of it is available for free, and you are responsible for distribution. Any movement on social media can be exploited by another user. Actions such as impersonating someone with their photo or cloning their Facebook profile remain almost undetectable. You can lose your reputation or the trust of loved ones without even knowing it.
Your vigilance should be aroused by:
• debit card charges for goods or services you do not use,
• unauthorized charges from your account,
• notifications of unsolicited prescriptions,
• changes in your creditworthiness,
• errors on your annual tax return.
Talking to dealers on Facebook
Several years ago, there was a high-profile story about a US police officer who used the data of a detained woman to set up a Facebook account. He used it to crack down on an organized drug group. He contacted the criminals, and to maintain credibility – he also published various posts. The victim herself found out about the fact only thanks to her friends, who started asking her about the strange content appearing on “her” virtual board.
Honest husband on Tinder
Examples do not need to look overseas. A few weeks ago, a woman approached the Detective store detective with a request to verify her husband’s fidelity. After she received photos of his profile on a well-known dating site from a friend, she began to suspect him of infidelity. What was her surprise when it turned out that the account was created by his colleague. This one was ashamed to show his face, so he used photos from the client’s husband’s Instagram.
Consequences of identity theft
Depending on the type of information, it can be used for a variety of purposes, including taking loans, accessing medical services, creating fake credit cards and even blackmail.
Regardless of the scenario, identity theft on the Internet is a crime that causes property or personal damage. It depends on the country, but in the UK, anyone who impersonates another person using his or her image or other personal information is punishable by imprisonment to maximum of 10 years for making or supplying articles and 5 years for possessing articles.
Identity theft on the Internet - FAQ
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is the unlawful acquisition of an individual’s identifying information for personal gain. The criminal impersonates the victim, with which he or she causes financial or personal harm.
What is the penalty for identity theft on the Internet?
Under British law, identity theft on the Internet is a crime punishable by imprisonment to maximum of 10 years for making or supplying articles and 5 years for possessing articles.
How do you prove identity theft?
Report the crime to law enforcement and keep a receipt for the report. Also gather evidence indicating the unlawful use of your data.
Where to report identity theft?
1. Change your login passwords.
2. Lock up your payment cards.
3. Report identity theft online at the government website to invalidate your ID.
4. Go to the nearest police station and file a crime report.
How do scammers get my data?
Cybercriminals launch phishing attacks, use keyloggers and illegally buy personal data on the black market.