We're hearing more and more about the dark web, where Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, and social media logins are bought and sold. Yes, it is real, and should be a concern to everyone.
But a new report has found which accounts are most valuable to thieves trading information on the dark web, and which accounts you need to keep an eye on.
The security website Top10VPN.com has analyzed the demand for various accounts, and claims your identity is worth $1,200 on the dark web.
Obviously your name, date of birth and Social Security Number are most valuable. But you can't do anything to make those more secure if they are already out.
However, you can protect your banking, shopping and social media accounts by changing passwords to make them tougher for thieves to figure out.
The report also breaks down what your various logins and passwords sell for, so that you know which are most valuable.
What data thieves want
Email accounts: Your AOL, Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo mail accounts sell for just a little over $9 each because thieves don't get much money from email and don't have much interest in them.
Shopping: But shopping accounts are worth a lot more. Your Amazon, eBay, Costco, Walmart or Macy's passwords average $164 each because thieves can make several big purchases before you find out you've been hacked and shut down the account (or change the password).
PayPal: Believe it or not, your PayPal password is the biggest fish of all, selling for $710 on average. That's because a thief can buy almost anything, even transfer thousands of dollars, once he has your PayPal credentials.
Never share passwords
All this leads to the risk of sharing passwords among multiple sites.
If you use the same password over and over, that thief can hit you multiple times in just 10 minutes, spending thousands of dollars at multiple accounts before you notice.
Plus, you'll have to change every site's password if just one site is hacked.
Bottom line: Be sure to use different passwords on all your social media, shopping, and bank accounts. That way you prevent a thief from getting all your logins at once, so you don't waste your money.
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