Tilman Fertitta, the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets recently became a victim of identity theft when someone obtained his name, Social Security number and date of birth through the Dark Web, that part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services. Personal information stolen through data breaches is often sold on the Dark Web to criminals who use the information for purposes of identity theft. Police have charged Stephanie Hunter with the crime. According to police, Hunter was able to open two credit cards with credit limits of $20,000 using this information. Fortunately, Fertitta was promptly alerted to the new accounts through his credit monitoring service and able to have the accounts closed before he lost any money. While credit monitoring is extremely useful, if Fertitta had a credit freeze in place at each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the accounts would not have even been able to be opened.
The best thing you can do to help prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft is to freeze your credit at each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Since 2018 it has been free to do so.