Stolen credit card information being sold on the dark web for pennies on the dollar

ByMichael Finney and Randall Yip KGO logo
Thursday, December 19, 2019
Criminals take advantage of holiday sales
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Your private identifiable information may be for sale on the web right now-at a discount. Many of us are the unwitting victims.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Your private identifiable information may be for sale on the web right now at a discount. Many of us are the unwitting victims.

The Dark Web: you may have heard the term, but not completely understand it.

James Chappell is the founder of Digital Shadows, which helps its customers understand the digital risks they face.

"The dark web is a term commonly used to refer to the criminal internet," he said.

Chappell says everything from illegal guns to illicit drugs to stolen information from data breaches is sold at a deep discount on the dark web during the holidays, just like you might purchase discounted gift items.

Digital Shadows found this pre-New Year 50 percent off sale on the dark web.

John Bennett is special agent in charge of the FBI in San Francisco.

"You can buy hundreds and hundreds of thousands of those breaches for 50 bucks, 20 bucks," said Bennett.

Norton reports there have been 4 billion records breached so far in 2019. Companies such as Capital One, Door Dash and Evite have all been hit this year. If your information has been stolen, it's likely for sale on the dark web.

"There's certain shops on line called AVC, 'also vending carts.' These are places where these credit cards are traded," said Chappell.

Not only are credit card numbers for sale, but so are email addresses complete with passwords.

You can monitor fraud by using a mobile app to keep close tabs of changes made to your credit account.

For email addresses, it's even easier. Simply type in an email address to see if you've been compromised at the website, Have I Been Pwned.

Crooks get onto the dark web to make these purchases by first winning the trust of those behind it. Once in, criminals travel through secret passageways or nodes. Each node leads to another node and another until you lose track of where you are.

"And that helps camouflage your IP address. That constant hopping through different nodes creates anonymity," said Bennett.

Activity on the dark web is so prolific, the San Francisco office of the FBI has set up a cyber squad specifically to focus on the dark web and all its criminal activity.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.