Keeping your personal information off the dark web

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Ron Evans' identity was recently compromised, and they had everything on him.

"They had my name, address, date of birth, social security number and driver's license number," Evans said.

Criminals took that information and opened up an erroneous account in his name. It's likely that his information was compromised through a security breach and sold on the dark web. To explore some of the hidden areas of the dark web, we found an expert in digital forensics to help us. To hide his identity, he's going by "Terry."

"Well they're able to sell your personal information without fear of being caught. If you want to deal down on the dark web, you need bitcoin," Terry said.

At any time on the dark web, transactions can take place for drug deals, kidnappings, and the selling and trading of personal information. We even found counterfeit $50 bills posted for sale on the dark web.

In some cases, hackers may have access to your computer, selling its digital real estate to infect others.

"Botnets are just people's computers that have been taken over and they have no idea that they've got stuff running on them. And when you can go rent 3,000 of those, it's very powerful," Terry said. "You can go buy credit cards here. Stolen credit cards."

While the authorities do monitor criminal activity, Terry says it's difficult to catch them.

"The feds can get them shut down, but then they'll just pop up again with another name," Terry explained.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Start by enabling two-step verification on all accounts that offer that option, including email, social media, and banking sites. It will notify you via text if someone tries to access your accounts.

Then review your credit history and make sure it's accurate. You can pull your credit reports for free once a year from Annual Credit Report.

Also, apply a security freeze with the bureaus. This will restrict access to your credit reports.

Lastly, if your identity is compromised, issue a fraud alert with the credit agencies. This will make it harder for a thief to open new accounts in your name.

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If you're living with poor credit, chances are you're paying higher interest rates and may have difficulty qualifying for loans.

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technologyidentity theftcredit cardstheftinternet
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