The Darknet is where hundreds of thousands of criminals could go to anonymously purchase and sell drugs, weapons, hacking tools, stolen identities, and other illegal goods and services. AlphaBay, which was in use for more than two years and had transactions exceeding $1 billion in Bitcoin and other digital currencies, was shut down on July 20, 2017 by a team of FBI agents, intelligence analysts, and support personnel. “This was a landmark operation,” said FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe during a press conference at the Department of Justice to announce the results of the case. “We’re talking about multiple servers in different countries, hundreds of millions in cryptocurrency…”
As of early 2017, there were more than 100,000 listings for items including fraudulent identification documents, malware and other hacking tools, firearms, and counterfeit goods. For example, millions of stolen credit cards end up on a black market just like this one. The information on the cards are bought and sold multiple times to identity thieves and other criminals.
If your card is stolen or misplaced, take action immediately by doing the following:
- Put a fraud alert on your credit. A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report and notifies lenders and creditors that they should take extra steps to verify your identity before extending credit. To place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit report, contact one of the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). Once an initial alert has been placed, the other two agencies will be notified.
- Contact any institution directly affected. If you know your credit card was stolen, report it to the credit card issuer. If your checkbook or debit card was stolen, contact your bank.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission. File an Identity Theft Report online, by phone toll-free 1-877-ID THEFT (1-877-438-4338), or by mail – 600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC 20580. The FTC will provide you with information on what to do next depending upon the type of fraud that has been committed.
- Protect your Social Security Number. If your social security number was or may have been compromised, contact the Social Security Administration (800-269-0271) and the Internal Revenue Service (800-829-0433).
Source: FBI and Department of Justice