What is Your Identity Worth?

What is your identity worth? Did you know there are actually black market sites selling your identity? This article tells you what you need to know about a whole other world of black market purchases.

Do you know what your identity is worth on the black market?” Identity thieves are paying around $14 to $18 for each stolen identity. This is a drastic drop from just four years ago when the black market price for a complete identity sold for $100 to $150.00. Even at lower prices, identity theft remains profitable. In 2006 alone, identity thieves stole more than $49 billion from businesses and consumers.
Why are the black market prices for stolen identities dropping?
Unfortunately it’s not because the demand has decreased. It’s simply because the theft and resale of identities has become such an efficient crime, that the supply has greatly increased.
The face of the identity theft and the black market is changing.
These hackers aren’t just operating in basements or selling their stolen goods in back alleys. The internet has provided not only a good source for stealing personal information, but also a haven for selling it.
Investigators have discovered chat rooms and cyber-criminal sites that-
*sell stolen credit card numbers
*sell machines for making credit cards
*sell scanners that pick up ATM card and pin numbers
*sell malicious software and viruses
Adreas M. Antonopolous of Network World explains the success of the identity theft black market in shocking terms. “If the black market economy were to be floated on the stock market it would be valued at more than $5 billion. The only catch is that the black market for identity theft is growing at more than 60% year-on-year, whereas some of the leading security companies have lost value in the last year. Three years from now, the bad guys could be better capitalized than the entire security industry.”
These sites are called “carder” sites. In chat rooms carders brag, “I have bank accounts…discount if you buy in bulk.”
Secure Science Corp., a company that recovers stolen information sold on line found more than 147,000 stolen credit cards numbers for sale in one month in 2006. Investigators even uncovered a “Hall of Shame” where thieves outed defrauders for defrauding other defrauders. It was a real “Who’s who?” among identity thieves.
Identity thieves no longer require a one shot deal for identity theft.
Alfred Huger of Symantec Security Response says that identity thieves are now collecting and packaging stolen data. “These guys are going to the effort of data warehousing this stuff and will steal or get data from multiple sites,” Huger explains.
Think your mother’s maiden name is safe?
Identity thieves have been known to use consumer’s own credit cards to purchase more information about the cardholder from ancestry or public record sites.
Identity thieves are not just out there; they are out there in increasing numbers with more efficient ways to collect information to steal your identity and profitable black markets to sell it in.
What is your identity worth to you?
No doubt your good name and your credit score is important to you. Even if your credit score is less than perfect, you can work to raise a legitimate score. When we consider what our identity is worth to us and what we are willing to do to protect it, we have to keep in mind what it’s worth to identity thieves in the black market.