If your credit card information is on the dark web you need to immediately contact your credit card issuer, monitor your online accounts for any suspicious activity or transactions, check your credit report and place a fraud alert on your credit report as an extra precaution.
Continue reading to learn how your credit card information could have gotten on the dark web and how to keep your credit card information safe in the future.
What Is the Dark Web?
The dark web is part of the internet that is only accessible using a specific browser called Tor. The dark web provides the individuals who go on it with anonymity and secure communication channels that cannot be found with standard search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Since the dark web provides its users with anonymity, cybercriminals often use it to carry out criminal activities like trafficking stolen personal information and selling illegal weapons.
Steps To Take if Your Credit Card Information Is on the Dark Web
Here are the steps to take after discovering your credit card information is on the dark web.
Contact your credit card issuer: The first thing you need to do is contact the issuer of the credit card that was found on the dark web. Let the card issuer know what happened and that you want to cancel your current card. Once your compromised credit card has been canceled, the issuer will send you a new card with a new number, making your old one unusable.
Continue monitoring your bank accounts: You never know what other information could have been compromised, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your online accounts, especially the most critical ones like your bank account. If you notice any suspicious activity like unusual login attempts, don’t wait – act immediately by changing your password to one that is strong.
Check your credit report: In addition to monitoring your online accounts, be sure to check your credit report for suspicious activity. Ensure that new credit lines or loans haven’t been taken out under your name. As a cybersecurity best practice, you should be checking your credit report regularly to make sure there aren’t any signs of identity theft.
Place a fraud alert on your credit report: Placing a fraud alert is an extra security precaution you can take to keep yourself safe from identity theft and other types of fraud. To place a fraud alert on your credit report, contact one of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. You only need to contact one credit bureau to place a fraud alert on your credit report. The bureau you contact will notify the other two bureaus to place the fraud alert.
How Did My Credit Card Information Get on the Dark Web?
Your credit card information could have gotten published on the dark web due to a public data breach, having an online account compromised, credit card skimmers, using an unsecured WiFi network or falling for a spoofed website and entering your credit card information on it.
Public data breaches
Public data breaches occur when a company you have an account with or work for experiences a breach that exposes customer and employee Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Depending on the type of user and employee information the company stores, the type of information that can be exposed varies.
Data breaches can happen for a number of reasons such as an employee making an error or a cybercriminal launching a successful cyber attack. When public data breaches occur, cybercriminals will collect as much data as they can and publish it on the dark web for others to view or buy.
Compromised online account
Compromised online accounts can also lead to your credit card information being published on the dark web. A compromised online account is an account that has been accessed without the permission of the person who owns it. Accounts are often compromised due to weak password practices like using short passwords or reusing passwords across multiple accounts.
Depending on the type of account a cybercriminal compromises, they can gain access to many types of personal information, including your credit card information.
Credit card skimmers
Credit card skimmers are devices that threat actors use to steal your credit card information. To use these devices, threat actors attach them to actual card readers like the ones used in ATMs and at gas stations. Credit card skimmers are designed to look exactly like card readers so that people aren’t suspicious of them. When a victim falls for a card skimmer and inserts or swipes their card, their card gets scanned and the card information is sent to the threat actor through Bluetooth. The victim’s transaction still goes through normally, so they won’t even know their card has been skimmed until it’s too late.
When a card is skimmed, the threat actor obtains all its information including the cardholder name, number, expiration date and Card Verification Code (CVC).
Using an unsecured WiFi network
Using an unsecured WiFi network, such as one that is public, can place all of your sensitive data at risk due to Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. MITM is a type of cyber attack where a cybercriminal intercepts the data being sent between two people. A MITM attack most commonly occurs on public WiFi networks because they’re left unsecured and anyone can connect to them.
Conducting transactions online while connected to an unsecured WiFi network places your financial data at risk of being stolen due to MITM attacks. It’s best to avoid conducting transactions while connected to an unsecured network.
Entering credit card information on spoofed websites
Spoofed websites are sites that have been made to look legitimate but are actually designed to steal your sensitive information. Depending on the goal of a cybercriminal, they may prompt you to enter your login credentials or your credit card information.
To avoid entering your personal information into a spoofed website, it’s important to learn how to spot a site that’s been spoofed. Here are a few signs.
How To Keep Your Credit Card Information Safe
Here are some tips to keep your credit card information safe from compromise in the future.
Never save your credit card information on websites
When you purchase an item or service online, you may be prompted to save your credit card information to the website for faster purchases in the future. While this is convenient, it places your credit card information at risk of being exposed in public data breaches, so it’s best to never save it on websites.
Use strong passwords and enable MFA for all your accounts
Strong passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) help keep your online accounts secure from compromise. MFA is a security measure that adds additional authentication to your online accounts by requiring you to provide one or more forms of verification. Even if a cybercriminal knew your password, MFA would prevent them from being able to log in to your account.
Rather than relying on yourself to create your own strong passwords, consider using a password manager. Password managers aid in creating, managing and storing your passwords so you won’t forget them. Some password managers like Keeper® even come with the ability to store Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) codes so you can add an additional layer of security to your accounts seamlessly.
Use your card’s tap-to-pay function
Many newer debit and credit cards come with a feature called “tap to pay.” This feature allows you to conduct transactions without having to insert or slide your card into a card reader. Using your card’s tap-to-pay feature helps keep you safe from credit card skimmers who aim to steal your card’s information.
Never conduct online transactions on public WiFi networks
If you’re connected to a public WiFi network, avoid making any purchases online while you’re connected to the network as this could place your financial data at risk. Instead, wait to make an online purchase until you’re on your home’s WiFi network. If you have to make a purchase immediately, create a password-protected hotspot to connect to your phone’s cellular data instead.
Avoid Having Your Credit Card Info Published on the Dark Web
Keeping your credit card information safe can prevent it from being published on the dark web and used for malicious purposes. If you don’t take the proper steps to secure your credit card information, you place yourself at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft which is not easy or quick to recover from.
Password managers like Keeper are tools that not only aid in securing your online accounts, but also your most sensitive information – including your credit cards. Start a free 30-day trial of Keeper Password Manager today to start securing your most critical accounts and data from compromise.