Identity Theft – How Much Are You Worth

November 13, 2007

Internet Cyber Crime Pays Well.

Not only that, but it’s a relatively safe crime to commit. Law enforcement estimates that only 1 in 7,000 hackers is convicted. And that’s a low estimate. It’s very difficult to gather all the evidence to put them behind bars. No wonder so many hackers succumb to the lure of easy money.

Identity thieves don’t just steal your personal information for only themselves to use. There’s a bunch of well funded international criminals willing to pay good money for your personal information. Hackers can make money by finding your numbers and selling them. Quite a nasty litte work at home job.

Bank account numbers along with authentication codes are the most valuable commodities. They can easily bring from $30 to a whopping $400. The more money you have available in your account, the higher the asking price. They are the second most advertised numbers for sale on the underground black market.

Credit card numbers are the most popular items for sale. Even though they bring considerably less money than bank numbers, they are the easiest to steal. Their value is anywhere from $.50 to $5.

According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report for the first six months of 2007, banking information and credit cards amounted to 43% of the information available for sale in the criminal community.

The next most valuable piece of info is your email password. It can bring from $1 – $150 depending on whether your account has been used for spamming previously. Email passwords allow access to an email account and are typically used for sending spam. They can also be used to recover a user’s passwords from various Web sites that will email password-reset information to the user’s email account.  Here’s another kick – email accounts with usernames in standard English are generally higher priced. Kinda makes you want to change your name to "Qwerty".

Your full identity goes for $10 – $150. That includes name, DOB, address and social security number. Surprisingly, your social security number will fetch a paltry $5 – $7. They are more valuable when attached to the rest of your personal info.

How do the bad guys get your information to sell?

Bot infected computers are the most common way. They can be in your personal computer or in a company or organization. Bots can also be used by attackers to harvest confidential information from compromised computers, which can lead to identity theft. Furthermore, they can be used to distribute spam and phishing attacks, as well as spyware and adware. Between January 1and June 30, 2007, Symantec observed an average of 52,771 active bot-infected computers per day. P2P sites make it even easier to snoop through your computer.

Security breaches are another huge way thieves get information. Finding a spreadsheet with thousands of credit card numbers worth 50 cents or more is a big payday. Even though hard drives on stolen laptops are generally encrypted, hackers can usually break the code. Remember how fast the iPhone was hacked?

Identity theft continues to be the fasted growing crime in the world.

It’s now bringing in more money than drug trafficking. From a thief’s point of view, online identity theft is a safe and profitable business. Don’t look for it to slow down any time in the near future. Protect yourself with Identity Theft Solutions.


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