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$25: What Scammers Pay for Your Identity

Identity theftConsider it the law of Evil Economics: With the identity theft business booming, prices for stolen personal information sold on the black market have reached record low prices.

“It’s simple supply and demand,” explains Jon Ramsey, chief technology officer at Dell SecureWorks, a division of the computer behemoth. “The identity theft business is so good that there’s a glut on the market” of everything crooks need to commit financial fraud.

The result: It costs them less to obtain your stolen identity than what you pay for dinner out on date night – including most Early Bird Specials.

For just $25, according to a Dell SecureWorks report, scammers can purchase “fullz” – the name for an electronic dossier containing everything needed to open fraudulent accounts in your identity: name, home and email addresses, phone numbers and date of birth, as well as Social Security number and information on bank and credit card accounts.

That’s a 37 percent drop in “fullz” prices from just two years ago, and about half from the last decade.

For those preferring to scam a la carte, stolen credit cards – complete with CVV security codes – sell for as little as $4, while online banking accounts with balances between $75,000 to $150,000 retail for up to $300.

For just $400, scammers can get a targeted business knocked offline with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) for-hire attack, while personal computers remotely infected with malware to be spam-sending “botnets” on behalf of scammers are a real bargain: just $20 for 1,000 compromised computers or $250 for 15,000 “bots.”

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Much of the stolen information covered in the Dell SecureWorks review was gleaned online – through data breaches, distribution of malware and other types of hacking. While you can’t prevent corporate data breaches, here’s how to protect your computer for reduced risk of identity theft:


Photo: Don Hankins/Flickr

For information about other scams, sign up for the Fraud Watch Network. You’ll receive free email alerts with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud. You’ll also gain access to a network of experts, law enforcement and people in your community who will keep you up to date on the latest scams in your area.

AARP Fraud Watch Network






>> Get discounts on financial services with your AARP Member Advantages.


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