NextAdvisor.com Exposes the Internet's Black Market for Stolen Personal Information

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Identity thieves have created intricate, Internet based black markets to buy and sell stolen personal information. Social security numbers, credit card numbers and other sensitive information is routinely exchanged through the Internet and is then used to perpetrate identity theft against unwitting victims. NextAdvisor.com's "Inside the Internet's Financial Black Markets" guide exposes the dark details of these identity theft enabling marketplaces and offers some advice to consumers on how to prevent being victimized.

If consumers clearly understand the specific threats to their sensitive data, they will be better equipped to make informed decisions about how to protect themselves

NextAdvisor.com, the trusted, independent source for comparing the most valuable Internet services, is launching another free guide describing the complex underground economy of identity theft, and explaining how consumers can use this information to avoid becoming victims.

"On the NextAdvisor.com daily blog, we try to keep readers informed of major data breaches," said NextAdvisor.com Associate Editor Caitlin Podiak. "But what happens to sensitive information after it's been stolen? This guide delves into the black market for stolen data."

This guide contains a number of facts and figures that may surprise readers. The cost of stolen data, for example, has dropped precipitously as the black market has been growing more sophisticated and profitable. When data thieves sell stolen information in bulk, a single credit or debit card is only worth about $0.50, and a full identity complete with a all the information needed to open new accounts in someone else's name can be had for as little as $2.00. Raw data is available for as little as $0.20 per megabyte. In some cases, buyers and sellers can fill out online forms in which they indicate the various types of data they have to sell or would like to purchase: address, date of birth, Social Security number, driver's license number, mother's maiden name, PIN numbers, passwords etc.

The risk of identity theft is very real and it can be frightening at times. By unveiling the tactics used by hackers, phishers, spammers and other cybercriminals, NextAdvisor.com hopes to help educate its readers and remove some of the mystery and confusion surrounding identity theft.

"If consumers clearly understand the specific threats to their sensitive data, they will be better equipped to make informed decisions about how to protect themselves," said Podiak.

The "Inside the Internet's Financial Black Markets" guide is available for free by visiting:

http://www.nextadvisor.com/blog/2008/09/16/inside-the-internets-financial-black-markets-%e2%80%93-how-identity-thieves-buy-and-sell-your-personal-information-online/

About NextAdvisor.com:
NextAdvisor.com is the trusted, independent source for comparing the most valuable consumer services. The company's mission is to help consumers save money and improve their lives by presenting them with useful comparisons and reviews of service providers and a clear explanation of each service and how it works. The company currently reviews, compares and explains many different types of services including credit report and monitoring, identity theft protection, voice over IP, diet plans, DVD rental and movie download, online education, online tax preparation and online backup. Learn more at http://www.nextadvisor.com.

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Joe Fahrner
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