For the past several days and sit-down conversations with bank officials and lawyers, my eyes have been opened to a dread that I have become victim to and trying to maintain sanity has been a harsh struggle. “Have you heard of the Dark Web?” That question hung in the air as I stared hopelessly into the eyes of the bank manager who was trying to deliver the news that my financial information wound up on the dark net. I had heard of the Dark Web as well as the Deep Web, but never gave it much thought thinking nothing like that would happen to someone like me who is very careful with my information. I quickly learned it doesn’t matter how careful one can be, it’s still not enough.
If you’re wondering, the Dark Web is much more scarier than you might realize. It’s darker than any shade of dark to be found and can destroy a life in a matter of seconds. Most of us spend a considerable amount of time on the internet like reading news, social media sites, online-retailers and the list goes on. But this is not even a fraction of the internet as the biggest part of the net sphere is the Deep Web which makes up over 93 % of what is available on the internet. There are many layers as was explained to me over the past three days. These layers go beyond private sites and different databases that isn’t indexed by Google. Just beneath the Deep Web is the Dark Web which you need special resources to get into it. This particular web is hidden and is encrypted and hosted on anonymous servers. Now, not to get confused with the good side of the dark web which was originally developed by the U.S. Navy allowing searchers to search anonymously, but the availability or level of this anonymity makes illegal things possible.
What can you find on the dark web? I researched and learned you can buy drugs, a list of every weapon available and also the weapon itself. You can find child pornography which I want to say right now, do not make your children or grandchildren’s photos available on the internet especially beach or water photos of them in their swim suits. I asked my bank manager why didn’t she have family photos sitting around on her desk? She quickly told me of the growing problem of people coming into the offices and seeing these photos and selling them to the dark web but it doesn’t stop there. Many of the bank employees have been threatened with people claiming to have their children and giving a description of their child that was in the photo on the desk. She then proceeded to tell me under no circumstance should any parent or grandparent proudly post photos of young children on Facebook, Instagram or any social media site.
You can also find murders-for-hire and any illicit item or service that can be dreamed up in this arena. This darkness is intentionally hidden from search engines and is only accessible with a special web browser. It’s scary what lurks beyond the user-friendly websites and it’s bigger than you will ever be able to fathom and the Dark Web and Deep Web loom in very dark corners. You can find Pharmaceuticals, Fake Documentation services, Carding Sites and that sickening sex trafficking corner that is untraceable.There are so many dark secrets to be had and found in this dark corner of the net. What does this have to do with me? I just found out that the Financial Fraud Sites, which are many and cannot possibly be listed, held financial information attached to my name and bank accounts.
Early Monday morning around 12:30 a.m., I spent 45 minutes on the phone talking with customer service about my options being that I had just found $6,500.00 was pending to be taken out of Square which is a payment platform I had attached to my checking account that could receive payments for services rendered on-line. I have not used this device or platform and certainly didn’t owe anyone money. I was advised to stop that particular account immediately and tear up the card associated to it which I did while on the phone with this representative. Hours later when the bank opened, I was there first thing without any sleep that night so as not to oversleep. I sat down with the bank manager who pulled up the account which had NOT been deactivated by the customer service representative and there was another transaction of $12, 000.00 Pending.
I was doing everything within my power to keep from throwing up. My blood pressure reached into orbit and I was falling apart quickly. She immediately got on the phone with FBI, and other internal resources to get an investigation going. Before the end of that visit, another slice at my account had been posted for an additional $87,000.00, then another $12,000.00. Corporate immediately shut down my account and an investigation had begun. I felt empty on a whole new level. I’ve had horrible things to happen to me, but this knocked me off my feet entirely. My bank fixed everything, but they could not fix the fact that I am now an occupant of the dark web and not by choice. The internet has been convenient for me in so many ways, it’s been my friend. But it’s also been my biggest enemy hidden away in some very dark corner. I will change the way I do things now. Your information is NOT safe. HANDLE WITH CARE and don’t use your card for on-line shopping, or to support those you think you trust. That number should never leave your wallet even using it in stores isn’t 100 % safe. We all need to take every precaution in protecting our assets…