Web Marketplace Listing Social Security Numbers Taken Down
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- By Patrick Ryan
- Jun 14, 2022
An internet marketplace that made the private information of more than 20 million individuals available for purchase has been removed from the web, hopefully for good. The illegal online criminal market contained the social security information of unsuspecting victims. Here’s a quick look at the details of the web market, including its bust.
Who Took Down the Illegal Online Market?
The IRS and FBI worked in unison to remove the web marketplace. These two governmental organizations also received assistance from authorities in Latvia and Cyprus to remove the market from the web. At the time of this publication, it is unclear as to how many of the 20 million social security numbers initially posted to the site were sold. The network raked in around $19 million while operating in previous years.
How did the Network Operate?
The network relied on servers spread out across several nations. The logic in spreading out operations to multiple nations is to remain anonymous and avoid attention from the law. The network used bitcoin and other cryptos instead of American dollars to avoid government tracking.
The marketplace officially referred to as SSNDOB, sold information in addition to social security numbers. The market also sold victims’ dates of birth and names. The network used dark web discussion boards to tout its services, recruiting new customers from those online message boards. The domain names that the marketplace operated under were seized earlier this week.
Have the Criminals Behind the Marketplace Been Punished?
As of the time of this publication, it is unknown whether the operators of the sites in question were criminally charged, apprehended, or jailed. A statement made by authorities with the IRS provided few details.
According to Darrel Waldon, an IRS criminal investigation field office special agent who works in the heart of the beltway, the bust of the SSNDOB online market was significant.
As Waldon points out, if the network continued to operate, it would have led to identity theft that compromised victims’ financial health and peace of mind, emotions, and well-being.
What Should Identity Theft Victims Do?
If you suspect you have been victimized by an online scammer or other parties, don’t delay upgrading your digital defenses. Some common signs of identity theft include a credit score reduction, bills for products or services you did not buy, past due notices, loan application denials, and debt collection phone calls.
Be sure to confirm your suspicion by running a background check to see if any red flags pop up under your name. If you find out you have been victimized by a criminal and someone else used your personal information for gain, surf the web over to the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft website for assistance.