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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Having your identity stolen is a serious concern, especially if you’re a victim of the Equifax data breach. However, it may surprise you to know it’s unlikely the people who hacked into Equifax’s system will try to steal your identity.
According to fraud expert Andrew Richards, instead, they will probably sell it illegally to other people on the dark web who are looking to steal your identity.
The deep web and the dark web are nothing like the web we know, and you will not find them by accident. They can be hard to conceptualize.
“Consider it like the ocean. If you’re up on top of the ocean, like the regular web, you’re doing okay. You go a little further down into the deep web, now you’re getting into a little trickier waters. You go all the way down into the dark web, you might not be able to get rescued,” said Richards, who is also the director of Point Park University’s Criminal Justice Program.
According to Richards, the personal information stolen in the Equifax hack will most likely be sold or traded illegally on the dark web, a place where crime is rampant and almost anything is illegally sold.
“You leave yourself as being a possible victim by going down into it,” cautioned Richards.
Things like child pornography sales, sex trading, some drug trading and terrorist activities occur on the dark web, according to Richards.
“Chances are, your information is there,” said Richards.
Even if you weren’t affected by the Equifax breach, your information could still be traded on the dark web and your identity stolen.
“It doesn’t matter whether you were a part of it or not, you should expect that your information is out there,” said Richards.
Richards recommends checking your credit reports and comparing them every year.
“I’ll do that, make sure my identity ain’t getting stolen,” said Roger Titus, of Pittsburgh.
“They could lose everything, their identities, bank accounts, everything,” said John Clark, of Greene County.
Also, consider freezing your credit with each of the credit reporting agencies and always check your bank and credit card statements.
Equifax has been advertising a free dark web scan to see if your email address is there, but problems are being reported with the site. The scan page is down and customers looking to freeze their credit are reporting issues as well.