Often I have written about security threats, identity theft, hacking etc. And in general folks have undertood the seriousness of the issue. However, the article I am attaching really puts it into perspective. It details what your data is worth on the streets. Some of the amounts may seem surprisingly small to you, others crazy high, but the real cost is the damage done to your life in trying to recover your credit rating, good name and security. The article does not comment on the life impact aspect because much of the cost is embedded in pain and suffering, but the fact remains your trauma is real in the case of data theft. Also, a lot of this theft comes from overseas hackers which makes any kind of prosecution almost impossible (if you can even find the thief) further inflaming the emotional pain.
Here is an excerpt from the article (I strongly encourage you to read the entire article) with the numbers.
- Average estimated price for stolen credit and debit cards: $5 to $30 in the United States; $20 to $35 in the United Kingdom; $20 to $40 in Canada; $21 to $40 in Australia; and $25 to $45 in the European Union.
- Bank login credentials for a $2,200 balance bank account selling for $190.
- Bank login credentials plus stealth funds transfers to U.S. banks priced from $500 for a $6,000 account balance, to $1,200 for a $20,000 account balance.
- Bank login credentials and stealth funds transfers to U.K. banks range from $700 for a $10,000 account balance, to $900 for a $16,000 account balance.
- Online payment service login credentials priced between $20 and $50 for account balances from $400 to $1,000; between $200 and $300 for balances from $5,000 to $8,000.
What you can do....
Keep a separate credit card or bank account for online or even store retail purchases.
Get a second email address for online signups, purchases, etc and NEVER connect that second email to any of your financial accounts.
Be sure all your online devices have the maximum anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spyware protection along with a strong firewall.
Never open an email that promises financial gain from soneone you do not know.
Do not download coupon printing programs unless you know they are safe.
And the number one rule for a less stressful life - "If it looks to good to be true, it probably isn't true".
Purchase a wallet that will shield your chip embedded credit/debit/id cards from walk by electronic readers.
Identity and data theft is serious and it can take years to fully recover. Please take steps now or you will become the next victim.