How much is your stolen identity worth? Um, not much.
By now you’ve seen the 55,000 articles about Equifax’s massive data breach and the 143 million stolen identities. The headlines are enough to haunt your dreams this October. Either way, have you ever considered how much your hacked info is actually worth? Prepare to be insulted, because the truth is – not much.
It turns out that on the “Dark Web” – where anonymous cybercriminals peddle your swiped info in a seedy version of eBay – your identity isn’t worth as much as you may think. Oh, it’s valuable to be sure. But it’s a buyer’s market out there.
According to network security analysts at Dell SecureWorks, the average price for a standard packet of info to steal one’s identity is $30. That’s right. $30 for a set of info that includes your ID number, address, and birth date. A thief’s entry point to all you hold dear costs as much as a night at the movies. Minus the popcorn.
So while a snatched identity is a huge cost to you, thieves don’t need big bankrolls to afford it. Here are some more price points as published by Quartz:
|HACKER SERVICE||AVG. PRICES|
|Visa or MasterCard credentials||$4|
|American Express credentials||$7|
|Discover credit credentials||$8|
|Date of birth||$11|
|Credit card with magnetic string or chip data||$12|
|Health insurance credentials||$20|
|Social Security # (as part of a full dossier)||$30|
|Bank account # (balance of $70,000 – $150,000)||$300|
|Full dossier with counterfeits of physical documents||$1,200|
So, now what?
If you’re spooked by these numbers and fear you’ve been hacked, the quick takeaway is to consider your options. Checking with Equifax to confirm whether you HAVE been hacked may give you mixed results. Some report that the security breach checker yields random results, and may be an attempt to boost their TrustID product.
But let’s face it. With 143 million swiped accounts, there’s a good chance you’ve been exposed. So consider these options as found in a CNN article.
- Monitor, monitor, monitor. Get one free copy of your credit report per year from EACH agency: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Request yours here.
- Set up a fraud alert on your credit. Get alerts when someone applies for credit in your name. Alerts are free, renewable, and last 90 days.
- Watch your accounts like a hawk. Experts suggest using your financial advisor to scrutinize your bank, retirement, brokerage, and credit card accounts on a regular basis.
- Still worried? Freeze your credit. Without your permission, access to your credit report is blocked.
- Stick your head in the sand and hope for the best. No judgment, this may actually work!
Your ego may be a bit bruised now that you know how much your identity is worth. But whether your style is more Option 5 or All-of-the-Above, these simple steps can help reduce your risk and ease your mind. Which means you can focus instead on the things that should be spooking us in October – ghosts, goblins, and packs of kids with rolls of toilet paper and shaving cream.