Have you ever wondered why computer hackings and data breaches are so common these days? Part of the reason is that stealing your data is big business. Just how big?
Recently blog Quartz took a look at the online black market for stolen identities, and as it turns out, a handful of identities can be quite valuable indeed.
According to Quartz’s research, the median price for a stolen identity online is $21.35, with prices ranging between less than $1 and $450. For purchasers, the value is in being able to steal goods using your line of credit. The more data that’s available on you, the more money your stolen data record will be worth. Higher credit limits are worth more money, too.
One of the most expensive records found by the researchers, valued at $248.22, comes complete with an active American Express card number with a $10,000 limit. It also contains near complete data on someone’s identity – their name, DOB, SSN, mother’s maiden name and more. Less expensive identities tend to be older records and those attached to deactivated debit cards.
What can we learn from this data? Well, it’s proof that your identity isn’t worth as much to criminals if you have a credit freeze placed on your account. So if you’ve been a victim of a data hacking recently, you may want to put similar security measures in place. It’s also important to keep a regular eye on your credit – if you don’t have access to a professional-grade paid service, give a free service like Credit Karma a try.