The fallout from two fatal crashes of Boeing 737 Max planes has ensnared the manufacturer's most-loyal customer: Southwest Airlines. The carrier has canceled thousands of...Airlinesread more
The Fed is expected to cut rates Wednesday, but it is unlikely to tell markets what they want to hear on future rate cuts.Market Insiderread more
Stocks rose slightly on Tuesday, but gains were capped as the Federal Reserve kicked off a two-day monetary policy meeting.US Marketsread more
Pelosi said Trump should not have tried to address China's trade practices in a way that opened Americans up to financial pain.Politicsread more
Brent crude oil jumped the most in history in the previous session after attacks on Saudi's oil industry disrupted the kingdom's production.Marketsread more
In the survey, conducted after the third in the Democratic Party's series of debate, the former vice president draws 31% compared to 25% for the Massachusetts senator. At 14%,...2020 Electionsread more
The U.S. Air Force's top general says he has not yet received direction to send additional bombers to the Middle East after what is believed to be an Iranian attack on Saudi...Defenseread more
"I believe the path to 'health care for all' is a path following the lead of the Affordable Care Act," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells Jim Cramer.Health and Scienceread more
E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc.'s sales have been halted on two websites in China, just days after it launched in the world's biggest tobacco market.Biotech and Pharmaceuticalsread more
Investors might be wary that gasoline prices will continue to rise, and are looking to take back profits by selling off shares.Retailread more
The Trump administration move on California's auto emissions standards would likely set up a fight between the White House and the state.Politicsread more
The building blocks for identify theft are for sale on the dark web, a hidden part of the internet that people access through special browsers such as Tor, I2p and Freenet.
Once there, scammers find their way to anonymous message boards, and markets for drugs, stolen financial data and other personal valuable information.
Almost everything’s for sale, and purchases are usually made with bitcoin, since the cryptocurrency is difficult to trace. You can get checking account information and stolen Social Security numbers. Even people’s medical records can be purchased for anywhere from a dollar to $60, depending on the amount of information you're seeking.
Why medical records? For starters, complete medical records generally contain a complete identity: name, date of birth, Social Security number and medical information. A detailed record can then be used to establish a fake identity, open a credit account, or it can be used to bill fraudulently for medical procedures, according to MIB Group, a nonprofit organization that offers underwriting services to insurance companies.
Guarding against identify theft starts with scanning the horizon for red flags. Be careful about your passwords. They should be easy for you to remember, and not contain personal information, although the admonition to change passwords is open to debate. You may want to keep your current passwords unless you suspect your information has been breached.
“It turns out that changing passwords frequently can actually just give cyber criminals a glimpse at potential patterns in your passwords, allowing them to crack them more quickly,” says Brian Stack, vice president of dark web intelligence at Experian, a credit-scoring company.
Don't use public computers for sensitive or financial transactions. Whenever possible, use two-factor authorization, which makes it harder for anyone else to log into your accounts, said the Trusted Identities Group, a division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
“Your information is safer because thieves would need to steal both your password and your phone,” the Trusted Identities Group says on its website. You’d definitely notice and report a missing phone before someone else could use your credentials.
More from Personal Finance
“Plus, your phone should be locked, requiring a PIN or fingerprint to unlock, rendering it even less useful if someone wants to use your credentials,” the Trusted Identities Group says.
Suspicious activity can be a shady email — check the underlying address to verify it really is from the company claiming to contact you — or odd activity on any of your accounts. Monitor your bank accounts and your social accounts for unusual activity or posts.
The average loss to victims is $1,343, according to a Justice Department study, but that doesn’t include time and aggravation spent on correcting the mistake.
“Not all stolen information is put on the dark web, though it is a popular destination,” Stack says.
According to Javelin Strategy, the number of identity theft victims in the U.S. rose to 16.7 million in 2017. The firm said that children are increasingly the victims of ID theft.