What to Do if Your Email is Found On the Dark Web

Three Women Discussing on what to do if your Email is foind on the Dark Web

The dark web: as its name implies, it is a place used for malicious purposes, allowing its users to hide behind the anonymity it provides. If you find that your email address has been leaked into the dark web, you can be sure that whoever leaked it and whoever finds it there is up to no good. 

So what exactly is the dark web? How does an email address end up there? Why is this such a bad thing? And how can you prevent your email address from turning you into a victim?

The dark web is an area of the Internet that can only be accessed using very specific software, configurations, and authorizations. The information contained in the dark web will not appear in search engines, and anyone using the dark web does so without divulging their location or identification. This is all thanks to a layered encryption system that the rest of the Internet doesn’t have.

Information that appears on the dark web usually ends up there due to a data breach. This means that someone gained access to confidential or sensitive material who wasn’t supposed to. Anyone can be the victim of a data breach, even large corporations, government agencies, and banks, so chances are pretty good that companies you’ve done business with have already, or could one day, experience a data breach. This is how your email address is found and leaked.

You may think that your email address isn't an especially sensitive piece of information. After all, it's on your resume, your business cards, and any clubs or memberships that you sign up for. But it's also what you use to log in to your online accounts, including those that contain your personal and banking information. Once a hacker has your email address, they can potentially gain access to every website you log into using that email address.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to remove your email address (or other personal information) from the dark web and ensure that you never end up there again. Your other option is to work with an online reputation repair and protection firm that specializes in protecting you and your image online.

Working with a top-rated online reputation management company, like Reputation Rhino, you can reduce the risk of further exposure of your private and personal information online as part of your overall reputation management strategy.

Steps to Take if Your Email is Found on the Dark Web

A woman holding stethoscope

First and foremost, don’t panic. 

Just because your information has been leaked does not automatically mean that your identity will be stolen or your bank accounts emptied. 

But you certainly don’t want to do nothing about the situation, so here’s what to do next:

  1. Change ALL of your passwords: Go to every single online account that can be accessed using the leaked email address, and change your passwords on each one. Use passwords of 12+ characters, with a healthy mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
  2. Review all transactions in your bank accounts and credit cards: Check for any unusual or unauthorized activity, especially subscriptions. You may see several small charges at places like gas stations or convenience stores prior to a much larger purchase. Continue to monitor all of your accounts for at least a few days.
  3. Check your computer for malicious software: Your operating system should have come with a malware scanner, and now is the time to use it. This will let you know if any undesirable third-party software is being run on your computer.

How to Find Out if Your Email is on the Dark Web

This is a little more complicated than it sounds, due to those layers of encryption that make the dark web what it is. You won't be able to search for your email address in a special dark web search engine; instead, you'll need to stay vigilant.

Frequently check your emails (inbox, junk, and sent) for new or unusual activity, as well as your social media accounts for unauthorized posts, likes, or messages. Sometimes, a company that you do business with will notify you that your information was a part of a data breach; in cases like this, immediately change your passwords and monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity.

If your email address was indeed leaked, there isn't really anything you can do to have it removed from the dark web. After all, you don't know exactly where it is or who put it there, or even who has access to it now. Your best course of action at this point is to protect your data to the best of your ability.

How to Prevent Your Email from Ending Up on the Dark Web

Sometimes, this is out of your control, like when your email address is part of a data breach. But there are several things you can do to minimize the chances of your email address ending up where you don't want it.

  1. Don't use unsecured public Wi-Fi: They may be convenient, but the lack of security means they're not worth it. You can be easily hacked in many ways.
  2. Create unique passwords for each account: Using the same password on every account leaves you open to identity theft.
  3. Use a password manager: Remembering dozens of 12+ character passwords is only a viable option if you have a photographic memory…which most of us don't. So choose a password manager with auto-fill functionality and save yourself a lot of time and stress.
  4. Opt for multi-factor authorization: With multi-factor authorization, your password alone isn't enough to log in to your account. Instead, a code will be sent to your phone that you need to input to the site to gain access. This critical extra step adds a very necessary layer of security.
  5. Install all available app and software updates: These updates often include more than just aesthetic changes and additional features; they also contain important security updates for your protection.
  6. Open a new email address: For less important online accounts, use a throwaway or secondary email address. This minimizes exposure of your primary email address.
  7. Back up your data: Store anything that is important to you on an external hard drive so it can't be lost forever.
  8. Keep your email address and password private: Don't share your login information with anyone, ever.

Final Verdict

If your email has been found on the dark web, you may become the target of phishing scams or harvesting of your inbox. 

Hackers may try to gain access to your accounts and most personal information. 

Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your privacy online. 

If you're working with an online reputation repair and protection company like Reputation Rhino, they can take action on your behalf.

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What should I do if my email is found on the dark web?

Don't panic! Change your passwords, monitor your accounts, check your computer for malware, and take preventative measures so you're not at risk again.

Should I worry if my email address is found on the dark web?

To cancel your FastPeopleSearch subscription, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the FastPeopleSearch website and log in to your account using your credentials.
  2. Navigate to your account settings or profile page, where you can manage your subscription.
  3. Look for an option that says "Cancel Subscription" or "Manage Subscription."
  4. Click on the cancellation option, and you may be asked to confirm your decision.
  5. Follow any additional instructions provided to complete the cancellation process.

If you encounter any issues while canceling your subscription or cannot find the cancellation option on the website, consider reaching out to FastPeopleSearch's customer support for assistance. They should be able to guide you through the process and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Can I get my info removed from the dark web?

No, unfortunately, it's not that simple. You have no idea who put it there or how to contact them. The dark web is deeply encrypted and highly anonymous. Once your email address has reached the dark web, it stays there.

Can you monitor if your email address was found on the dark web?

There isn't a dark web search engine you can use, but certain identity theft protection programs claim to notify you if your information appears on the dark web. Your best course of action is to frequently monitor your email and social media accounts for new, unusual, or unauthorized activity.

What happens if your personal information is on the dark web?

You leave yourself open to being hacked. The opportunity exists to access your accounts, including your bank accounts. You'll want to take extra precautions to minimize or eliminate your exposure to hackers.


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