In the world of credit, it’s important to stay on top of your situation, and to watch for identity theft. Identity theft is a growing crime, since it’s the theft of information, and many people don’t realize that their information has even been stolen. And, of course, once someone has your identity, it’s fairly simple to get credit in your name.
And, while your identity can be stolen from information in many different accounts, some hackers are now going right to the source, and stealing entire credit reports from credit reporting agencies.
How Much is Your Credit Report Worth on the Black Market?
Some hackers are finding that they can make a lot of money by getting information from credit bureaus. MSNBC reports on the prices that hackers receive for different credit reports:
Websites that offer consumers a chance to see their credit reports are being brazenly used by hackers to steal victims’ information.
The prices of the reports rise and fall depending on the credit score of the victim. For consumers with credit scores in the 750s, report data might fetch $80; reports from victims with scores in the low 600s sell for about half that, according to “for sale” pages viewed by msnbc.com.
The fact that there are “for sale” pages should be troubling for many. It’s clear that these hackers are quite open about their ability to get information and then sell it. Indeed, with such brazen attempts to make a profit off credit information, it’s possible that a financial product warning label is needed in order to let consumers know that their data is at risk.
We’d like to think that our information is safe, but you never know when it will go on sale to the highest bidder. You can use credit monitoring services, but this still doesn’t prevent hackers from stealing your information — although being alerted to new account activity can help you see where you might be vulnerable, and what steps you might need to take in order get rid of fraudulent charges and accounts. It’s important to keep tabs on your credit report, since someone stealing your Canadian credit card account is not the only possibility for identity theft.
Your information is out there. There is no way to completely protect against identity theft. As a result, it’s up to you to be vigilant. Check your credit report regularly, and watch for signs that your identity has been stolen and is being used for fraudulent purposes. It’s up to you to keep an eye out, and let the credit bureaus know when information is inaccurate or fraudulent.
Image source: TrinityCreditServices via Flickr