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You may have heard about the dark web in the media. While some people use it for legitimate and legal reasons, the dark web is unfortunately where a lot of illegal activities happen as well. Along with the buying and selling of forbidden goods, it’s also where criminals trade in stolen consumers’ identities.

According to Javelin, identity theft was at a record high in 2017, with 16.7 million victims claiming they had their identities stolen. However, with a free  Dark Web Scan offered by Experian™, you can protect your identity at no cost to you.

What Is the Experian™ Dark Web Scan?

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The Experian Dark Web Scan will do a one-time scan for your email, Social Security number and phone number. It will scan thousands of websites like forums, social media platforms and blogs as well as million of data points for your information going back to 2006. Additionally, you can view your results on Experian’s secure site and see whether or not your email address, phone number and identity have been compromised and exposed online. In just a few seconds, you’ll get your results.

Don’t fret if it comes up compromised. Experian will tell you the next steps you need to take to keep your identity safe and secure.

Why Your Identity Is Not Safe on the Dark Web

The dark web is encrypted online content that search engines will not index. People may use special browsers in order to reach the dark web, where they can browse the web privately. While some use it because of privacy concerns – for example, they want to freely express views without repercussion – others use it to engage in criminal activities like stealing identities.

Once your identity is stolen on the dark web, criminals can take out credit cards in your name, file a false tax return and apply for loans. These actions can hurt your credit score and cause lenders to not want to work with you, as well as lead to a whole mess of problems when you need to use your Social Security number in the future, like when applying for a passport or filing taxes.

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Other Benefits of the Experian™ Dark Web Scan

With the Experian Dark Web Scan, you not only get that valuable scan for free. You also get access to your credit report and credit score, which changes every 30 days, as well as credit monitoring and alerts. For example, if your identity is stolen, you may get an alert that you applied for a line of credit when you actually didn’t. You could find out right away that your identity was stolen and work to resolve the issue swiftly.

With registering for Experian's free Dark Web Scan, you also get access to Experian Boost™, which can potentially raise your FICO® Score instantly by connecting your phone and utility payments to your score. The service even counts your monthly Netflix payments as a utility. If you’ve made payments on time, that may just give your score a bump.

Is a Free Dark Web Scan Valuable?

The Experian Dark Web Scan is absolutely worth it, especially when its offered at no cost. If you have ever used your credit card online or filled out a form online with your Social Security number, you may be susceptible to identity theft. Even though you have a firewall up and only go to encrypted websites, there are crafty hackers out there who know how to bypass these protections and won’t stop at anything to get your information. Plus, you get those other free credit services to boot, making this an even more valuable service. Even if you don’t end up getting the paid version of dark web monitoring from Experian, you can access your credit report for free and receive those helpful alerts as soon as there’s any activity with your Social Security number.

In a time when hacks and data breaches abound, and the dark web provides a safe haven for criminals, it’s critical that you ensure your ID is protected at all times.


Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne is a personal finance, credit card, and travel writer. He is the family travel and budget expert behind Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids. His work has appeared on several websites, including FinanceBuzz, Credit Karma, Millennial Money, Club Thrifty, Student Loan Planner and Slickdeals.