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Your stolen information is on the Dark Web – What to do next

The Dark Web keeps internet activity private and anonymous. Dark Web content isn’t indexed by search engines, and you need special software to access it. You can imagine the applications for this, such as avoiding government censorship and keeping one’s identity private.

The Dark Web is also a hotbed for illegal activity, such as selling drugs and firearms. You can also find financial and personal information up for sale. Tap or click here to learn how much your stolen credit card is worth on the Dark Web.

Let’s say you find out that your credit card information has been stolen and is on the Dark Web. Not the best news you can get, but don’t despair. Our sponsor, ExpressVPN, put together a few tips on what to do next. Keep reading for ways to protect your finances.

How did this happen?

You don’t have to do anything wrong for your information to get stolen. A company you have an account with could be breached, exposing thousands or even millions of people’s records.

RELATED: Part of a data breach? These are the steps to take immediately

On the other hand, phishing scams are a persistent danger and clicking on a seemingly legitimate link could take you to a malicious webpage, where anything you enter is seen by a scammer.

Unsecured public Wi-Fi is a prime target for hackers to spy on your activity and steal information.

Damage control

ExpressVPN pointed out that if your credit card information was stolen, you need to take action as soon as possible to minimize the damage to your finances and privacy. Here are some tips to stay protected:

  • Contact a credit reporting agency (Equifax, TransUnion or Experian) to request a credit freeze. This prevents anyone else from accessing your credit and makes it harder for thieves to open new accounts in your name. A credit freeze doesn’t affect your credit score but you’ll have to go through a process to unfreeze it afterwards. Tap or click here to learn more about how freezing your credit works.
  • Change your password. Having unique passwords for every online account is critical. The easiest way to create and track unique strong passwords is with a password manager. Tap or click here to learn more about these useful security tools.
  • Contact your bank and card issuer to close the card. You may have to take this extra step if your banking information was exposed. You can close the compromised card and get a new one. Ask for the fraud department and see if they can reverse any charges so you can get your money back.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration if you think your Social Security number was compromised.
  • Download new antivirus software or update your current software. A firewall also helps, acting as a gatekeeper for your device. Tap or click here to learn more about these security tools.
  • Use multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor or two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security when logging into an account and can protect you from future hacks. It could be a thumbprint, a bit of information only you know or a code sent to a device only you have access to. Tap or click here for more details on 2FA.

Protect yourself with a virtual private network

ExpressVPN is among your first lines of defense against invasions of privacy. A VPN provides a layer of protection between your devices and the internet. It hides your IP address and location and encrypts your data after leaving your device.

Whether it’s a computer, smartphone or tablet, it connects to the internet through an internet service provider. Those servers send you information and they pick up information about you, your IP address, location, device and more.

A VPN blocks the two-way exchange of information. The IP address and location data come from the VPN host’s server, so the servers on the other end learn nothing about you or your data. Hackers, scammers and thieves won’t be able to get to you, your data, your travels or money.

We recommend our sponsor, ExpressVPN. Get the only VPN service that Kim uses on all your digital devices today. Get three months free when you sign up for one year at ExpressVPN.com/Kim.

You may also like: Security tip: Next time you stay at a hotel, turn on your VPN

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