U.S. law enforcement officials have shut down a series of websites that earned $19million from selling stolen data. The black market data sold by these websites include important personal information, such as stolen social security numbers and birth dates. Therefore, the destruction of this operation is definitely a great victory.
The US Department of Justice announced on June 7 that the website "ssndob marketplace" was closed. Among other things, the announcement included this shocking detail. These websites are selling about 24million stolen social security numbers. In terms of background, this figure exceeds the population of Florida.
Website selling stolen social security numbers
According to the US Department of justice, the administrator of ssndob website created advertisements on the dark network crime forum. These advertisements advertise the services of the market, while administrators provide customer support and monitor when buyers deposit money into their accounts.
In addition, ssndob administrators use various techniques to maintain anonymity and prevent any snooping on their activities. According to US law enforcement, this includes "using an online name different from its real identity, strategically maintaining servers in different countries, and requiring buyers to use digital payment methods such as bitcoin".
The announcement of the US Department of justice continued: "the international action to dismantle and seize this infrastructure is the result of close cooperation with the law enforcement authorities in Cyprus and Latvia. On June 7, 2022, a seizure order was executed against the domain name of the ssndob market... Effectively stopping the operation of the website."
Prevent identity theft
Criminal activities like this remind people that identity theft is an eternal threat and people need to take it seriously. Below, you will find steps you can take to reduce your chances of becoming a victim (provided by USA.gov):
This first step should not be mentioned. Don't share personal information (such as your date of birth, social security number or bank account number) just because someone asks you for it;
Be sure to tear up old receipts, credit notes, account statements and expired credit cards;
In addition, you should review your credit report once a year. In particular, check to make sure they do not include accounts you have not opened. You can use the annualcreditreport Order your report for free;
Most importantly, create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess. In addition, if the computer system of the company you do business with has a vulnerability, please change the password.
U.S. prosecutor Roger handberg said in the ssndob announcement: "I appreciate the great work and cooperation of our domestic and international law enforcement partners to stop this global plan. Theft and abuse of personal information are not only criminal acts, but also have a disastrous impact on individuals in the next few years."
Handberg, together with special agent Darrell Waldon, who is in charge of the Washington, D.C. field office of the IRS criminal investigation, and special agent David Walker, who is in charge of the Tampa branch of the FBI, announced the closure of these websites.