The US has shut down a group of websites that were allegedly stealing personal information from millions of Americans (Picture: Getty Images)
The US government has shut down a series of websites that they allege were selling stolen Social Security numbers, names and dates of birth of about 24million Americans.
The Department of Justice announced that a group of darkweb domains, known as the SSDOB Marketplace, had been taken offline last week. The websites were reportedly used to sell people’s personal data, mainly targeting US citizens.
About 24million Americans had their personal information listed on the websites, and over $19million was generated in sales, the US Department of Justice said in a press release.
According to the Department of Justice, the SSNDOB website administrators placed advertisements on dark web forums to promote the marketplace.
The FBI, DOJ and IRS seized four domain names associated with the SSNDOB marketplace, including, ssndob.ws, ssndob.vip, ssndob.club and blackjob.biz, in cooperation with authorities in Cypus and Latvia.
‘Identity theft can have a devastating impact on a victim’s long-term emotional and financial health,’ said Darrell Waldon, a special agent with the IRS’ Criminal Investigation agency. ‘Taking down the SSNDOB website disrupted ID theft criminals and helped millions of Americans whose personal information was compromised.’
The administrators of the SSNDOB used a variety of techniques to remain anonymous.
According to the Department of Justice, the administrators used a variety of ways to remain unknown to law enforcement, including ‘using monikers that were distinct from their true identities, strategically maintaining services in various countries, and requiring buyers to use digital payment methods, such as bitcoin.’
Even following the shutdown of the websites, the identities of the administrators of the SSNDOB Marketplace have not been publicly identified or arrested.
Anyone who tries to reach one of the seized websites will automatically be directed to either a ‘this site can’t be reached’ error notice or a page featuring crests of government agencies that says ‘THIS DOMAIN HAS BEEN SEIZED.’
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