“Your information has been found on the dark web”

What does it mean when you hear that your information “has been found” on the dark web?

It usually means that personal identification information like your birthdate and Social Security number are visible on a part of the internet that is not accessible through everyday searches on Google, for example.

Often this has occurred because of data breaches but the reality is that there is a lot of information on individuals available on the regular internet from public sources and various kinds of social media – everything from sites like Facebook and Venmo to online obituaries of family members.

Should you be worried about your information being on the dark web? As Canton Co-operative Bank President & CEO Nick Maffeo recently wrote in his Canton Citizen Smart About Money column, it may not be possible to remove your information from the dark web but there are three things you can (and should!) do.

First, freeze your credit reports with the three credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Credit freezing is free and it helps prevent criminals from opening accounts in your name.

Second, consider setting up alerts on your accounts so you hear about unexpected transactions immediately.

And being cautious about the information you put out about yourself can limit the information scammers can learn about you.

You can read Nick Maffeo’s entire column with other tips and ideas here and – if you have any questions – come see us or call 781-828-8811 x5.

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