compromised ssn dark web.

Compromised SSN Dark Web – What to do & how to protect yourself

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PUREVPNSecurityCompromised SSN Dark Web – What to do & how to protect yourself

The dark web is a mysterious place. While it can be used for genuine reasons, such as privacy and security, there are more cybercriminals there than we’d expect. Illicit activities such as selling and purchasing illegal weapons, drugs, and the public’s sensitive information are quite the norm on the dark web. Most of the times SSN is compromised on Dark Web.

The sensitive information sold on the dark web includes credit card information, debit card information, and Social Security Numbers [SSN]. The latter leads to identity theft and could lead to you getting in trouble for somebody else’s crimes.

If you’ve found out or fear that your SSN has been compromised and ended up on the dark web, there are some steps you can take to ensure your safety. In this article, we’ll discuss some of these steps and ways to protect yourself in the future.

compromised ssn dark web...

What does having your information on the dark web means?

Unlike the standard web, the dark web is not indexed, so normal search engines can’t access it. You can only access the dark web via special browsers like Tor. Because the dark web offers users complete anonymity, scammers, and hackers often use it for illegal activities.

These cybercriminals use the dark web to sell and trade personally identifiable information [PPI], which includes login credentials and SSNs acquired through illicit activities. The following are some of the activities these criminals can carry out with your information:

  • Use your stolen SSN to obtain illegal employment, file fraudulent taxes, take out loans, and apply for benefits in your name.
  • Get your leaked personal information, such as credit card numbers, phone numbers, and address, to target you with social engineering and phishing attacks
  • Steal your financial information to request new credit cards or to open new accounts
  • Use your leaked passwords to break into your online accounts, such as banking, email, and social media

Can you remove your information from the dark web?

It’s virtually impossible to have your SSN or other information removed from the dark web once it has been published for sale. This data is unreachable by authorities and is stored on unregulated marketplaces.

Even if you manage to get it taken down from one site on the dark web, the cybercriminals will simply re-upload it on another. So, you must remain proactive about keeping tabs on your information.

Monitoring your data regularly will help immediately spot when it has been compromised, and you can then take steps to secure your digital identity from scammers.

How do I tell if scammers are using my SSN?

Several telltale signs can reveal whether cybercriminals are using your SSN illegally. Investigate the following to ensure you’re safe:

  • Your benefits: Cybercriminals might use your SSN to claim benefits in your name. Be on the lookout for such scams and contact your benefits provider if you suspect any illicit activity.
  • The dark web: Scan the dark web or use a dark web scanner to discover if your SSN is on the dark web.
  • Your tax accounts: Review your taxes and look for any signs of fraudulent activity, such as increased owed taxes, unknown tax returns, and unapproved authorization requests.
  • Your credit: Review your credit report for suspicious, unauthorized charges or accounts.
  • Your mySocialSecurity account: Review your mySocialSecurity account with the Social Security Administration and evaluate your statement to check if all the information is correct.

Steps to take if you suspect your SSN is on the dark web

According to Javelin Strategy & Research, almost 27 million Americans fell victim to identity theft cases in 2021. The identity theft cases during that year amounted to $28 billion. So, if you’ve ended up as one of the victims, you’re not alone.

The following are some of the steps you can take if you’ve found out or fear that your SSN is on the dark web:

  1. File a report

If you think a cybercriminal has access to your SSN and has opened an account under your name, report the crime immediately. Contact the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission for assistance and inform your credit card companies of your identity theft case.

To report the fraud, you will need to dispute fraudulent charges. Otherwise, there will be no proof of the crime to report. You should also contact local law enforcement to file a report there separately.

  1. Review your credit report and bank statements

Review your annual credit report every year to sport any suspicious activity not initiated by you, such as new lines of credit or new accounts. You can request the credit card report for free via

Moreover, you can avail the service of a credit monitoring company, which will monitor your credit, investment, and bank activities. These companies monitor your accounts 24 hours daily and alert you when they detect suspicious activities.

If you’ve detected any suspicious activity, contact the fraud department of your credit card company or bank and request them to restore the security and ownership of your accounts.

  1. Create a social security account

You can create a “my Social Security account” on the government website to monitor the use of your SSN. The account will let you manage and track your current benefits, which includes verifying if someone has filed a claim.

However, it is important to note that there isn’t a foolproof way of knowing if someone is using your SSN. This account can help you protect your benefits but not your specific number. You can also sign up for a self-lock feature – offered by the Department of Homeland Security – known as E-Verify.

This feature lets you lock your SSN and block all electronic access attempts. However, bear in mind that this feature only prevents employment-related identity theft, insurance fraud, and future identity thefts.

  1. Closely monitor your credit card accounts

Cybercriminals can use your SSN and any other personal information they found on the dark web to gain access to your credit cards. They will use your credit card and pile up your charges. So, it’s vital that you closely monitor your credit card account to spot any suspicious activity before things get out of hand.

You can also monitor your credit cards by signing up for alerts, which will notify you every time a purchase is made, or a payment is due. These alerts can help you track your credit card activity in real time.

  1. Freeze your credit accounts

With access to your SSN, cybercriminals can open credit accounts in your name. Opening an account in your name means they can create other financial accounts, apply for credit cards, and take out personal loans in your name.

A sure way of ensuring nobody has access to your credit is to freeze it, preventing cybercriminals from accessing your credit files. You can freeze and unfreeze your credit with Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian, the three major credit bureaus named under federal law for these tasks.

You can sign up for one of their credit lock programs. However, you must remember that freezing your account means nobody, including you, can open new accounts under your name. Therefore, it’ll also be great to learn how to unfreeze your credit for the future.

  1. Enable two-factor authentication and update all compromised passwords

Changing your passwords is the first and last line of defense against cybercriminals. If you think your data has been compromised, update all your passwords on online platforms with complex, unique, and long passwords and enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication wherever possible. 

  1. Consider using a VPN for all your online activities

Using a VPN, such as PureVPN, can ensure your online safety at all times and keep your online traffic, data, and activity hidden from hackers, scammers, and prying eyes. It uses 256-bit AES encryption to safeguard your sensitive information online.

Furthermore, a VPN masks your IP address, keeping you anonymous on the web and making it difficult for cybercriminals to track or identify you and your online activities. A VPN especially comes in handy when you’re on a public WiFi network and need to access accounts with your sensitive information.

How to ensure your sensitive information stays off the dark web

Taking preventive measures is the best way to move forward, given that you can’t remove your SSN from the dark web once it has been leaked. The following are some of the critical steps that you can take to keep your personal information online completely private:

  1. Pick a PureVPN subscription plan.
  2. Download the app on all your devices.
  3. Log into PureVPN with the provided credentials.
  4. Connect to a server to secure your connection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I change my SSN if it was stolen?

There are only certain situations in which you can change your SSN. You can’t get a new SSN if it was stolen. Moreover, changing your SSN can create a new stream of problems for you, for example, with your credit report and earnings history.
A new SSN will also make applying for loans, passports, and other legal documents more difficult. Therefore, taking precautionary measures is better than applying for a new SSN.

Should I access the dark web to determine if my SSN is there?

You don’t need to access the dark web to determine if your SSN was stolen and published there. There are safer methods you can follow, such as reviewing your credit accounts, mySocialSecurity account, taxes, and benefits claims.

How can I tell if my SSN was compromised?

Check all accounts holding your SSN or email address for recent breaches. If you suspect your sensitive information may have been exposed to outside threat actors, check all your SSN-related activities, including your credit account, taxes, benefits, and Social Security account.

What will happen if my SSN is on the dark web?

You can fall victim to identity fraud and theft if your SSN is on the dark web. It can be made available for purchase and used to open new accounts. Cybercriminals use SSNs to claim benefits, activate medical insurance, apply for loans, and open new credit accounts.

How can I prevent my SSN from getting stolen online?

Using a VPN, such as PureVPN, can safeguard all your sensitive information online, including your SSN, credit card details, and personal data. It uses military-grade encryption to offer online safety and security. Furthermore, your VPN will hide your IP address to maintain anonymity and protect you from scammers, hackers, and other prying eyes.


The dark web has several genuine benefits but has become home to cybercriminals. These malicious parties use phishing, scamming, and hacking techniques to access your personal, sensitive, and financial information. 

Therefore, it’s best to be safe than sorry and take precautionary steps beforehand to safeguard your online data, activity, and traffic. PureVPN can help encrypt your traffic and hide your IP address for online security, privacy, and safety.




June 20, 2023


11 months ago

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