Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

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Fremdon Ferndock
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Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Fremdon Ferndock »

I received this alert from Experian IdentityWorks, which monitors my information for threats:
Experian IdentityWorks monitors illegal internet sites on the dark web and notifies you if a match to your personal information is detected. Unfortunately, your phone number has been found on the dark web.
I wonder if I should change my phone number, which would be a pain to do? How common is this sort of thing and what degree of threat? Could happen all the time, since one's phone number is out there everywhere. This is my cellphone, which is used for 2FA, etc.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by jebmke »

I've always assumed that nearly everyone's phone # is on the "dark web".

Is the SIM locked on your phone?
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Fremdon Ferndock
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Fremdon Ferndock »

jebmke wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:03 am I've always assumed that nearly everyone's phone # is on the "dark web".

Is the SIM locked on your phone?
How do you lock the SIM?
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by abner kravitz »

Unfortunately, most phone numbers are on the regular web too. Data brokers have a lot of info.
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JoMoney
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by JoMoney »

News flash: There's probably a lot more personal information about you even on the not-so-dark web.
If a fraudster decides to target you, having little more than your name (depending how unique your name), and maybe rough age and/or location of residence, they can get mass amounts of "public" data about you, and if the fraudster was willing to lie about the purpose and permission of their request could get credit reports and other information service dossiers on you and your personal information.

It wasn't that long ago everyone's name and phone number got published in a book and dropped on everyone's door step whether they wanted it or not :annoyed
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by tennisplyr »

My number and DW’s are out there…we’re not changing our number 🙄
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by jebmke »

Fremdon Ferndock wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:08 am
jebmke wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:03 am I've always assumed that nearly everyone's phone # is on the "dark web".

Is the SIM locked on your phone?
How do you lock the SIM?
On Verizon you go into your account and there is a place on their web site to lock it down. I assume other carriers have similar features -- at least the majors.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by jebmke »

JoMoney wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:10 am News flash: There's probably a lot more personal information about you even on the not-so-dark web.
Palantir knows more about you than you know about yourself. And they didn't even ask you for permission to assemble the data like our boy Zuck [sort of] does.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Fremdon Ferndock »

jebmke wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:12 am
Fremdon Ferndock wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:08 am
jebmke wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:03 am I've always assumed that nearly everyone's phone # is on the "dark web".

Is the SIM locked on your phone?
How do you lock the SIM?
On Verizon you go into your account and there is a place on their web site to lock it down. I assume other carriers have similar features -- at least the majors.
What does locking the SIM actually accomplish?
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Try doing a search on your phone number.

I just did one on my VoIP number; my name, address and voter registration was provided.

Not too many secrets any longer.

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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by homebuyer6426 »

Experian is trying to give you a reason to use its monitoring product. Everyone's number is out there, along with a lot of other information. They don't provide any real service to you by telling you this, but it raises your level of perceived threat and motivates you to protect yourself by paying them money.

I recommend getting Tor and spending some time viewing the dark net markets to see what's out there. It's not a crime to simply look and it's quite eye-opening.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by ResearchMed »

JoMoney wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:10 am News flash: There's probably a lot more personal information about you even on the not-so-dark web.
If a fraudster decides to target you, having little more than your name (depending how unique your name), and maybe rough age and/or location of residence, they can get mass amounts of "public" data about you, and if the fraudster was willing to lie about the purpose and permission of their request could get credit reports and other information service dossiers on you and your personal information.

It wasn't that long ago everyone's name and phone number got published in a book and dropped on everyone's door step whether they wanted it or not :annoyed

And didn't most of those phone books usually include the address?

At least back then, one could opt out.
One could have no address printed. Or one could have either a phone number that was not printed in the phone book but available only by calling "Information" (usually 411 in the USA) or not even available that way.
Yes, it cost extra.
But that was then...

By now, most of personal information is already "out there" - "dark web" or elsewhere.

RM
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by increment »

Fremdon Ferndock wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:13 am
jebmke wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:12 am On Verizon you go into your account and there is a place on their web site to lock it down. I assume other carriers have similar features -- at least the majors.
What does locking the SIM actually accomplish?
Supposedly Verizon will not then transfer your number to a new SIM without being given the PIN.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Fremdon Ferndock »

Apparently you can create a SIM PIN on your iPhone. Will that serve the same purpose?

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201529
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by KyleAAA »

Everybody’s phone number used to be printed in a giant book distributed for free. Doesn’t strike me as a major issue.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by TallBoy29er »

Delete and move on. If it's only your phone number you are lucky.
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Phone Number Found on Dark Web

Post by OpenMinded1 »

[Thread merged into here --admin LadyGeek]

I receive Experian security monitoring due to my data being compromised during the Equifax data breach. A couple weeks ago I got an alert from them that my cell phone number was found on the dark web. The service lists a name and address for a person that supposedly has my number. It isn't me. It's someone else, who according to the information provided, is living about two miles from me. I did a little independent research using a couple of the websites designed to obtain information on people. With some you enter a phone number, and they supposedly tell you who has that number. The results were the same. They say it's a person living about two miles from me.

I don't get a lot of calls or texts from people I don't know. However, I do get some spam texts, mostly political in nature. When my wife dials my number it goes to my phone. If I dial my own number, it asks for a PIN to listen to my voice mail. Nothing unusual.

I don't use SMS for security codes in most cases. However, there is one financial site, TSP, where I'm leery about trying to get codes via Google Voice, so I use SMS. I use Google Voice to get security codes for all other sites containing sensitive info, including financial sites.

Should I be concerned? Maybe the person listed as having my number had it at one time, but not anymore? There are about four other numbers listed for that person.

I called my cell phone provider about it. The rep said they have no process that would allow two people to have the same number. Offered to change my number, but I hate to go thru all that until I understand the seriousness of the situation a little better.
Last edited by OpenMinded1 on Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Phone Number Found on Dark Web

Post by Silk McCue »

Same question posted yesterday. Take a look at the feedback.

viewtopic.php?t=383176

I am personally unconcerned that someone somewhere knows my phone number.

Cheers
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Re: Phone Number Found on Dark Web

Post by samsoes »

I chuckle when I see on a free website search that my phone number is supposedly associated with another person.

Nothing like obfuscation!

(I've had both my cell phone number and my landline number since the last millennium.)
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by OpenMinded1 »

This is a little off topic, but I've had free security monitoring from a couple different services as a result of data breaches. Some of them list registered sex offenders and their addresses. I think the justification is that they often try to steal identities in an attempt to keep people from knowing they are on the registry. Anyway, it's shocking how many there are. There are probably 10 within three miles of me, and this isn't a big city with high population density. It's suburban neighborhoods.

The monitoring service even gives some details about what the each offender was found guilty of. It's really disturbing. You probably don't even want to know.
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Re: Phone Number Found on Dark Web

Post by OpenMinded1 »

Silk McCue wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:35 am Same question posted yesterday. Take a look at the feedback.

viewtopic.php?t=383176

I am personally unconcerned that someone somewhere knows my phone number.

Cheers
Thanks. Don't know how I missed that.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by LadyGeek »

I merged OpenMinded1's thread into the ongoing discussion.

(Thanks to the member who reported the post and provided a link to this thread.)
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by OpenMinded1 »

LadyGeek wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 6:48 am I merged OpenMinded1's thread into the ongoing discussion.

(Thanks to the member who reported the post and provided a link to this thread.)
Thanks.
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Re: Phone Number Found on Dark Web

Post by Katietsu »

OpenMinded1 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:31 am [Thread merged into here --admin LadyGeek]

I receive Experian security monitoring due to my data being compromised during the Equifax data breach. A couple weeks ago I got an alert from them that my cell phone number was found on the dark web. The service lists a name and address for a person that supposedly has my number. It isn't me. It's someone else, who according to the information provided, is living about two miles from me. I did a little independent research using a couple of the websites designed to obtain information on people. With some you enter a phone number, and they supposedly tell you who has that number. The results were the same. They say it's a person living about two miles from me.

There was a time when I would intentionally switch the last two digits of my phone number on certain forms. These were forms that required a phone number but I thought providing it was going to lead to sales calls or spam. One day I learned that a woman named Bambi had that phone number and I realized I was sending those unwanted calls to her. I did feel bad. Given some of the places where I used the number, I am pretty sure it probably showed up in a database associated with me.

I tell the story only to point out that there are many innocuous reasons this can happen.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by runner3081 »

I remember a time when our phone number was out on everyone's doorstep.... printed... in a phone book.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

runner3081 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:11 am I remember a time when our phone number was out on everyone's doorstep.... printed... in a phone book.
My first job in Tampa was at Hill-Donnelly. They produced cross reference directories. If you had one piece of info you could find two others. Telephone number, name, and address all printed and sorted three ways.

This was back in 1971, even then plenty of info available.

I figure all my info is readily available, so I have credit frozen, I monitor my credit, and I use strong passwords and 2FA. I don't lose any sleep about the issue.

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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by runner3081 »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:28 am
runner3081 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:11 am I remember a time when our phone number was out on everyone's doorstep.... printed... in a phone book.
My first job in Tampa was at Hill-Donnelly. They produced cross reference directories. If you had one piece of info you could find two others. Telephone number, name, and address all printed and sorted three ways.

This was back in 1971, even then plenty of info available.

I figure all my info is readily available, so I have credit frozen, I monitor my credit, and I use strong passwords and 2FA. I don't lose any sleep about the issue.

Broken Man 1999
Same here, I assume it is all on the dark web and have taken the same steps as you.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by galawdawg »

runner3081 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:11 am I remember a time when our phone number was out on everyone's doorstep.... printed... in a phone book.
Image

And some people were even excited about it! :D
The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!….Page 73. Johnson, Navin R.! I’m somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity, your name in print, that makes people. I'm in press. Things are going to start happening to me now!
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by jebmke »

runner3081 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:11 am I remember a time when our phone number was out on everyone's doorstep.... printed... in a phone book.
411 - "for an additional 25 cents I will be happy to connect you to that number, sir."
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by OpenMinded1 »

I'm not real worried about it, but things are quite a bit different than they were when phone books were commonly and widely distributed. Computer security and ID theft weren't such an issue back when that was happening.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by jebmke »

OpenMinded1 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:08 am I'm not real worried about it, but things are quite a bit different than they were when phone books were commonly and widely distributed. Computer security and ID theft weren't such an issue back when that was happening.
Probably the best defense is a Swiss Cheese approach with multiple facets. Good computing hygiene is #1. But, use of 2FA when available, locking down devices as well as possible, IRS IP PIN ... all things that can seal off a single point of vulnerability.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by OpenMinded1 »

jebmke wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:11 am
OpenMinded1 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:08 am I'm not real worried about it, but things are quite a bit different than they were when phone books were commonly and widely distributed. Computer security and ID theft weren't such an issue back when that was happening.
Probably the best defense is a Swiss Cheese approach with multiple facets. Good computing hygiene is #1. But, use of 2FA when available, locking down devices as well as possible, IRS IP PIN ... all things that can seal off a single point of vulnerability.
Yes and I probably do a better job than most. I use credit freezes, a password manager, 2FA using security key or authenticator app when possible, Google voice for some security codes instead of SMS, encrypted hard drive that can't easily be read even if taken out and put in another computer, Google Advanced Protection Program, VPN, malware detection programs; long passwords, I don't use the same password for multiple sites, computers shut down and hard drives encrypted when they are left unattended, I'm careful about clicking on links and about what sites I visit, I check financial sites for fraud on a regular basis, keep my comps and phone updated etc. etc.

I might seem a little paranoid, but I'm all about wealth preservation these days. I'm older and recovery from a big loss due to theft or anything else would be difficult.
Last edited by OpenMinded1 on Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Fremdon Ferndock »

The Phone Book analogy is specious. That was when we had landlines and the published numbers were for landline phones, not smartphones that we have our financial lives tied into. Besides, they never published mobile numbers in the phone book.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by OpenMinded1 »

Fremdon Ferndock wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:52 am The Phone Book analogy is specious. That was when we had landlines and the published numbers were for landline phones, not smartphones that we have our financial lives tied into. Besides, they never published mobile numbers in the phone book.
+1

I never use my cell phone for financial transactions, or for looking at the financial sites where I have money. I only use my computers for those things. Not sure if computers are generally more secure than phones or not. Guess that would be a topic for another thread. Edit: But I spend a lot of time at home these days. I'm retired and life doesn't require me to be on the road a great deal of time anymore.
Last edited by OpenMinded1 on Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:08 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by jebmke »

Fremdon Ferndock wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:52 am The Phone Book analogy is specious. That was when we had landlines and the published numbers were for landline phones, not smartphones that we have our financial lives tied into. Besides, they never published mobile numbers in the phone book.
Other than 2FA for some sites, my phone has no link to my financial life. But my financial life is fairly simple so access via mobile devices isn't needed.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Fremdon Ferndock »

Not a coincidence that I got the alert from Experian Identityworks about my cellphone number showing up on the dark web and phishing scams I've just gotten yesterday and today. The first one was a text that my PayPal account had been suspended - I should click on the link to take care of this. I deleted that one. Then today I got another text that my Amazon account had been locked and I needed to click on a link for more information.

What puzzles me is how the scammers know that I have a PayPal account and an Amazon account. I can understand that practically everybody has an Amazon account so that could be a shot in the dark. But I just opened a PayPal account a week ago, never had one before. Just worrisome that scammers can get hold of this information and know your mobile number. I hope they know my pant and shirt size too, so they can send me a birthday present.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by deikel »

runner3081 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:11 am I remember a time when our phone number was out on everyone's doorstep.... printed... in a phone book.
True, but people were not using their (landline) phone as a secondary authorization for everything under the sun....if they steal and duplicate your phone number, if they can associate your name with your phone number, then they only need one more login to change the password to your account and confirm with the confirmation SMS sent to your...ah their phone now.

I would still not worry too much, but the ubiquitous use of cell phones as basically part of your wallet/password collector/gps location/secondary confirmation has put way too much weight on this one item lately.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by runner3081 »

Fremdon Ferndock wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:52 am The Phone Book analogy is specious. That was when we had landlines and the published numbers were for landline phones, not smartphones that we have our financial lives tied into. Besides, they never published mobile numbers in the phone book.
Not completely specious. I refuse to put or access any banking apps on my phone. It is a phone and a place to seek information.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by galawdawg »

It is still just a phone number. Widely shared, I'm sure, with family, friends, colleagues, employer and probably anyone you do business with from your bank to your lawn guy.

There is absolutely nothing that a bad actor can do with just your phone number or even with your phone number associated with your name. Good security practices in regards to passwords, email, web activity, freezing credit, and avoiding harmful social engineering (like not confirming your SSN with anyone who calls you) is key to avoiding becoming a victim.

Here are some tips I posted in another thread: viewtopic.php?p=6730018#p6730018
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Sandi_k »

I fell your pain.

Experian alerted my DH that a person is using his cell phone number. Of course, that person is a deadbeat. So now DH is getting creditors and other dunning types calling him regularly, asking for Deadbeat Dude.

And now they have linked *my* cell phone number to Deadbeat Dude, since my phone is part of DH's Verizon account.

All we can do is tell the creditors that Deadbeat is not at this number. Very frustrating. :(
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Silk McCue »

Fremdon Ferndock wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:42 am
What puzzles me is how the scammers know that I have a PayPal account and an Amazon account.
Unlikely that they have any idea. They win by playing the percentages. Hundreds of thousands of texts sent out with an auto responder ready to reply. They just need suckers to identify themselves.

Cheers
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

Everybody's (or almost) phone number is on the dark web. Don't worry about it. Answer your phone less often or not at all if you don't know who is calling.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by celia »

Fremdon Ferndock wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:00 am I wonder if I should change my phone number, which would be a pain to do? How common is this sort of thing and what degree of threat? Could happen all the time, since one's phone number is out there everywhere. This is my cellphone, which is used for 2FA, etc.
The thing you should do is not answer calls from people you don't know. Don't you do that already? If they are from a company you want to deal with (your doctor, lawyer, brick layer), they will leave a message. Then you can return the call if you want.

And people can call you without even knowing who you are. Don't you get calls like that? Just pick 10 random digits and there's a good chance it's a working phone number for someone. (Knowing what the valid area codes are will help.)
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by celia »

Fremdon Ferndock wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:42 am What puzzles me is how the scammers know that I have a PayPal account and an Amazon account.
Now, the whole world knows that since you just admitted it in a public forum. :happy
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by pseudoiterative »

Fremdon Ferndock wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:00 am alert from Experian IdentityWorks, which monitors my information for threats
readers of this thread may be interested in the service haveibeenpwned.com -- you can sign up to receive alerts if your email address or phone number appears in a data breach (e.g. when hackers exploit a company's bad security practices and your personal data from the company database ends up sprayed across the internet). unlike experian, it doesn't require a subscription fee. it's legit, run by a security industry professional.


this kind of thing is also a good reminder to never re-use the same password across multiple websites or services. if one website operator is incompetent, and stores your password unencrypted in their database, and then gets hacked, you want to limit the impact of your password being made public to that single website, not many websites that you use.
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by pseudoiterative »

Silk McCue wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:55 pm
Fremdon Ferndock wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:42 am
What puzzles me is how the scammers know that I have a PayPal account and an Amazon account.
Unlikely that they have any idea. They win by playing the percentages.
Apparently 76.6 million US households have an amazon prime subscription, out of a total of 123.6 million US households. Similarly the PayPal app is apparently installed in about 2/3 of all smartphones.

If you get told some random person's personal email address, perhaps there's roughly an even chance they have an Amazon account associated with the email, and an even chance they have a PayPal account associated as well. Since these accounts are so common, and can be used to extract money or goods with value, it makes sense that a scammer is going to try them, even if they know no additional information about the unfortunate victim other than the email.
Doctor Rhythm
Posts: 1524
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:55 am

Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by Doctor Rhythm »

Before the Dark Web, there was the White Pages.
likegarden
Posts: 3171
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by likegarden »

yes, they have our house phone number and Emails. So what, we do not answer!
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sunny_socal
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Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by sunny_socal »

Googled my own number, it's on the open web, along with name and previous phone and address. Nothing to steal, it's all there.
VanGar+Goyle
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Re: Phone number found on dark web - what to do?

Post by VanGar+Goyle »

OpenMinded1 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:50 am This is a little off topic, but I've had free security monitoring from a couple different services as a result of data breaches. Some of them list registered sex offenders and their addresses. I think the justification is that they often try to steal identities in an attempt to keep people from knowing they are on the registry. ...

The monitoring service even gives some details about what the each offender was found guilty of. It's really disturbing. You probably don't even want to know.
The Federal Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website allows you to search for free https://www.nsopw.gov/
But you may want to think in advance about why you are searching, and what you would do if you or your neighbors are listed.
It does not search by phone number.
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