Like my famous Canadian friend once said "If you're reading this, its too late". If you've ever have any online accounts, chances are that you've been hacked at least once without knowing it. According to a cybersecurity expert, “If someone wants to find my Social Security number, it will take them exactly $3 and five minutes”. Hackers generally package stolen information like fast-food combo meals and spread them across black-market websites and discussion forums, then get paid in bitcoin so that it is untraceable (although they may want to find a new payment currency as bitcoin's nosedive is now ~$3000/coin).
But like any one who understands economics, it's all about balancing the supply/demand curve. Therefore, your personal data like SSN that was once worth $100s on the blackmarket years ago is now as cheap as $3 because there are now plenty of personal data on the market due to all the recent massive hacks like Equifax, Marriott, USPS, and more. So how much does your data cost: $3 for SSN, $5 for medical record, $11 for credit card only but for only $23.99 you can get credit card combo (CC info, plus pin and address), and for $270 you get the whooooole bank account info for a specific person who has up to $6000 in their account. Jackpot!!!
So what's the takeaway? Before you begin swiping your life away during your Christmas shopping, protect your data before somebody else in Estonia becomes YOU. Here's what you can do to protect yourself:
- Use two-factor authentication for your online passwords/logins.
- Make sure you have an account registered with the IRS and SSN Administration. If you register first, no one can register your name.
- Consider a free credit freeze. This makes it harder for anyone to apply for credit in your name.