Your Email is on the Dark Web. Now What?

The dark web sounds like a scary and unknowable place. So what is it, exactly? The dark web is a collection of websites, forums, and marketplaces that are only accessible using anonymous web browsers. This anonymity makes them perfect for buying and selling stolen personal information, like credit card numbers, passwords, and email addresses.

While email addresses aren’t the most lucrative piece of personal information, they’re one of the most easily accessible. Once hackers have your email address, they can: 

  • Target you with phishing and social engineering attacks
  • Attempt to break into your email account and use it to take over your other online accounts
  • Spoof your email address (or social media accounts) to scam your friends and family

What to do if your email was found on the dark web

If you think your email is on the dark web, here are six steps you can take to help secure your identity, protect yourself from hackers, and safeguard your personal information. 

1. Change your passwords 

Your passwords are the last line of defense against cybercriminals accessing your accounts. Change your passwords for all your accounts, not just your email. And for additional security, enable two-factor authentication when possible. 

2. Run an antivirus scan on your devices

Antivirus and anti-malware software will help discover and isolate potential malware or spyware so that your future accounts aren’t compromised. You can set up automatic scans in the future to help keep your devices safe.

3. Check your credit reports and bank statements

Check your credit reports regularly for any suspicious activity, like new credit cards or credit inquiries. Even an unfamiliar phone number or address can indicate someone is using your personal information to apply for credit. And check your bank and credit card statements to ensure all the transactions are yours. 

4. Report the fraud

Reporting fraud is crucial if you’re going to dispute any transactions made by a scammer. You should report the fraud to:

5. Set up an email alias to help protect your main inbox

An email alias is a secondary account that you can use to sign up for new online accounts, newsletters, or when getting discounts from online stores. The emails can still be routed to your main inbox, but your primary email account won’t be compromised in the event of a data breach. 

6. Sign up for Equifax CompleteTM Premier or Equifax CompleteTM Friends and Family 

With Equifax CompleteTM products, we scan the dark web for the personal information you provide, like credit card numbers, email addresses, bank account numbers, and Social Insurance Number, and notify you if we find anything. We also monitor your Equifax credit score and report, and notify you of key changes. And if you’re the victim of ID theft or fraud, our dedicated Identity Restoration Specialists will work hard on your behalf to help restore your identity.

Consider these products:
Equifax CompleteTM Premier
Get Credit Alerts with Our Most Comprehensive Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft Protection Product
$24.95 per month
Equifax CompleteTM Friends and Family
Get Credit Alerts with Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft Protection for Two Adults
$34.95 per month