Cybersecurity researchers have found criminals selling social security numbers of infants on the Dark Web.
In a world of constant hacks, data breaches, and compromised sites, there is no stopping criminals from stealing the personal information of people from anywhere in the world. A recent report from CNN claims that not only are adult Social Security numbers being sold on the Dark Web, there are SSNs of babies as well.
The information being allegedly sold includes the child’s name, birth date, SSN, and the mother’s maiden name, and it costs $312 in Bitcoin per child. Apparently, an infant’s data can give cybercriminals clean access to credit history. As we all know, credit history is essential in applying for credit cards, receiving government benefits, taking out mortgages, and even filing fraudulent tax returns.Researchers discovered infant Social Security numbers for sale on the Dark Web's #OnDream marketplace.Click To Tweet
Furthermore, child identity theft can go undetected until such time when the child reaches the legal age to open up a bank account. This reason alone makes the scheme particularly appealing to criminals.
Infant Social Security Numbers for Sale
According to CNN correspondent Selena Larson, an advertisement associated with the buying and selling of infant Social Security numbers was spotted in a Dark Web forum only accessible through Tor. The ad purportedly reads: “Infant fullz get em befor tax seson [sic].”
The bizarre listing was found by the Dark Web intelligence firm, Terbium Labs. The researchers explained that underground market vendors scrounge for full identify packs called fullz, which contain valuable personal information about individuals, to file a fraudulent tax return.
On Dream, the largest Dark Web marketplace, sells nearly all information required by cybercriminals to do their fraudulent activities, including the Social Security numbers of infants.
“For the relatively high price of $312, a buyer can purchase an infant’s name, social security number, date of birth, and mother’s maiden name. With a maximum child tax credit of $1,000 per child, that is a potentially significant return on investment, assuming the buyer successfully files and claims the return,” Terbium Labs said in their blog post.
While researchers from the intelligence company have already seen child data for sale before, the company said this is the first time that they encountered infant information for sale.
“It’s unusual to have information specifically marked as belonging to children or to infants on these markets,” Emily Wilson, Terbium Labs’ director of analysis, told CNN.
The researchers also stressed that while the infant fullz don’t come with complete details about the parent, a cybercriminal can quickly obtain the missing data by using open-source data sets or by searching through the parents’ online presences.
Terbium Labs also noted that aside from personal information, tax fraud guides are also for sale in On Dream. Some carding forums also offer the guides for free. However, the company explained that some of these guides are either outdated or contain no topical information, rendering them useless. Apparently, the most useful guides are not publicly advertised or are being shared by tenured fraudsters only to their trusted circle.