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Unmasking the Dark Web – Credit Karma Personal Finance Blog


Understand what it is and how we are here to help

Everyone deserves to feel secure about their finances. We believe that trust should not cost money. Fraud is a big problem that can undermine your financial confidence and cost you a lot of money. Only in 2017, there were 1.1 million fraud reports costing Americans more than $ 900 million.

Just as understanding credit scores can be confusing, intimidating and expensive, many people don't know where to start when it comes to protecting themselves against fraud. He feels vulnerable: how do I know if there is anything about me and what should I do to get it back? To solve this, we launch Identity monitoring, a completely free tool to help consumers control fraud and take control of their information. At the launch, we discovered that this problem was more widespread than we had imagined: more than 50 million members of Credit Karma had been involved in the violation of public data of another company.

What the heck is a public violation anyway?

A public violation is when a company loses personal information that it was supposed to control and keep safe. After the investigation, the company must notify those affected. Last year, there was a total 5,207 infractions worldwide, impacting 7.89 billion data records.

Why did this happened?

Many times, personal information of consumers is stolen from for-profit companies. This stolen information can be sold and used to open accounts in your name or make purchases with your login credentials. But hackers are not solely responsible. Sometimes, companies accidentally expose information where anyone with the web address can access it.

Does it happen to everyone? No but two out of three Americans They are worried about their identity being stolen. Therefore, we are creating educational tools and resources that allow our members to monitor and protect their identity.

Have you heard of the dark web?

Like public infractions, a company loses the information filtered on the dark web and makes it available to others. The difference: infractions of the dark web are not made public. This is usually the result of an ongoing investigation of a violation or uncertainty about the origin of personal information. For example, Panera Bread and Saks Fifth Avenue announced that they may have lost customer information, but exactly what was lost and who was affected has not yet been made public.

Now we monitor the dark web for all our members, for free.

This information is difficult to track, and the possible consequences of not knowing are too serious. That is why we now monitor the dark web for our more than 80 million members. At the launch, we discovered that more than 30 million of our members have had at least one password exposed on the dark web. The login credentials are the most popular pieces of information we find and we want to help all of our members take steps to protect themselves.

The higher your score, the more vulnerable you will be

One idea we could find is that fraud may not affect everyone equally. By looking at the data, we see that the higher the credit score of our members, the more likely it is that they have lost their account password (s). We are not exactly sure why this is the case, but here are two potential causes:

  1. Older people tend to have higher credit scores and longer Internet records. If someone has been active on the Internet for 20 years, they are more likely to have more accounts, which increases exposure.
  2. Hackers can search disproportionately for information on services that have members with higher credit scores. When the information is sold illegally, there is more value for a person with a higher credit, so it would be better for the hacker to focus his effort.

Both are assumptions and the answer could be a combination of the two or something else.

How can you defend yourself?

While these statistics may be more scary than five minutes ago, I can assure you that there is much you can do and that we are here to help you. Credit Karma makes it easy for you to monitor your credit and your identity for free. Combined, these tools help keep you informed about how exposed you are and if your financial health is at risk.

I encourage you to take a look at our Identity monitoring function to see if there is something you should consider. You can see if your email address is associated with violations of public data or stolen passwords, and you can get advice on how to protect yourself. Don't forget to register again; We will continue to invest in our free monitoring service to help protect you.

Identity monitoring can be found in the resources tab on the website. On mobile devices, you can locate this function in your configuration. If you think you have already been a victim of fraud, you can visit the FTC Guide in the best next steps.

Adam Boender,

Product manager

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