- 20 million social security numbers have been put up for sale in an online marketplace, authorities said.
- US agencies took down the network, which had brought in $19 million over several years, according to the DOJ.
- The illegal network had servers in multiple countries and used bitcoin for payment, the DOJ said.
An online marketplace that listed more than 20 million Social Security numbers for sale and made $19 million in revenue has been taken down by U.S. authorities, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
For years, the SSNDOB Marketplace sold personal information about people in the United States — including names, birthdates and social security numbers — and advertised its services on dark web forums, a the DOJ said in a statement.
U.S. attorney Roger Handberg and agents from the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation Bureau took the network down through an international operation alongside authorities in Cyprus and Latvia, the statement said.
The market operated under multiple domain names, which authorities also seized on Tuesday, he added.
Site administrators operated servers in different countries to protect their anonymity and avoid the law, and forced their customers to purchase the information via
methods such as bitcoin, the DOJ said. No mention was made in the statement as to whether the operators of the sites were apprehended in the operation.
They would also provide customer support for their customers, the statement said, although it did not provide further details.
“Identity theft can have a devastating impact on a victim’s long-term emotional and financial health,” said Darrel Waldon, the special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigations Field Office in Washington, DC. DC, in the release.
Those who believe they have been victims of identity theft are advised to visit the Federal Trade Commission’s one-stop website for assistance in such cases. Warning signs of identity theft include receiving bills for items you didn’t purchase, debt collection calls for loans you didn’t open, and loan application denials. according to US authorities.