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Identity Theft: What Are You Worth on the Dark Web?

Since most of us are now accustomed to shopping online, registering students online, banking online, and routinely entering our valuable PII into websites without giving it a second thought, identity theft will continue to soar to new heights. Even youth sports programs now require online registration requesting proof of medical insurance, policy numbers, birth dates, and digital authorizations. The amount of collected PII in today’s cyber world is mind-boggling. And the frightening aspect of identity theft is that for the most part, it can be out of your control. After you’ve supplied your PII, you’re essentially at the mercy of the e-commerce website, banking or medical institute, credit score agency, or any other organization and their cyber security defenses (to thwart cyber-attacks). With that said, there are multiple measures you can take to protect your PII from showing up and being sold on the dark web. For example: for starters, you can practice all the following security practices on all your devices (including your phones) that I detailed in a recent column. It may be a good idea to track and get alerts of your credit history from a consumer credit card agency. There are three national credit bureaus that offer such a service: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.zone. There is also an option to run a free dark web scan via Experian to see how much of your PII is viewable online.

With a standard driver’s license commanding $20 on the dark web, I wonder how much the Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) required compliant card will be worth to cybercriminals, as it will be combination of a driver’s license ($20), domestic passport ($1,000-$2,000) and social security card ($1) all wrapped up in one. Not-to-mention yet another agency or governmental institute that will systemically categorize all that PII into one comprehensive database. I believe it will be safe to assume that this database will be a high target for hackers.

I trust those in authority, and the Bible instructs us to obey them, so I believe there will be overall value and benefit to this new security measure for United States citizens. But I also implore us to be vigilant and to open our eyes to the threat of the risks associated with our personal information online.

Sometimes you could not script the events of your life to be more ironic. I wrote the rough draft of this article yesterday afternoon. Possibly at the same time of my typing this article, my son and wife were online and proceeded to attempt a purchase on a compromised website. They entered credit card information, a password, and personal information. These are my people! They read my articles; they hear my speeches about online safety and security. And yet, they fell prey to a fake-website and gave our information away. I say this (out of exasperation!), and also to realize with you that we are all susceptible to falling prey to illegitimate websites that imitate true-addresses. The struggle for keeping our information and identity secure is real, and it happens in my home as well as yours.

Ultimately, we are more than our credit card information and passwords. Our time on earth is swift and fleeting and because of that, we have to make it count. In serving the Lord and in living wisely. Despite everything, our “value” is not in our PII or credit score but it comes from God. If you need a reminder of that today, see:

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I am sure that in the coming months and years there will be many new Security and Identity developments, which will include the new “compliant card” from the BMV. And although the world and its ways are always progressing, some truths remain timeless and true.

Stay true to your good sense in staying safe online and enlighten your family about safety measures too!