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Should You Use a ‘Dark Web Scan’ to Protect Your Identity?

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Illustration for article titled Should You Use a Dark Web Scan to Protect Your Identity?

Illustration: Inspiring (Shutterstock)

Identity theft is such a growing problem that it’s become almost routine—Marriott, MyFitness Pal, LinkedIn, Zynga, and even Equifax (of all places) have had high-profile online data breaches in recent years, affecting hundreds of millions of people. To help combat this problem, Experian and other companies are marketing “dark web scans” to prevent data breaches. But what is a dark web scan, and do you need it?

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The dark web, explained 

The dark web is a large, hidden network of websites not indexed or found on typical search engines. It’s also a hub of illegal activity, including the buying and selling of stolen financial and personal information. If your information ends up on dark web sites after a data breach, an identity thief could use that data to open credit cards, take out loans, or withdraw money from your bank account.

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How dark web scans work 

A dark scan will scan the dark web to see if medical identification info, bank account numbers, and Social Security numbers are being shared. If you get positive results, the dark scan service will suggest that you change your passwords, use stronger ones, or put a credit freeze on your credit profiles with the three major bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). A negative search result doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t had a data breach, of course, as there’s no way for any company to search the entirety of the dark web.

Many of these services offer you a free scan, but that only covers certain information like phone numbers, passwords, and Social Security numbers. If you want to set up alerts, or search for other information like bank account numbers, passports, or your driver’s license, or have access to credit reports (which are already free), these services will typically charge a monthly fee (Experian offers this service for $9.99 per month after a 30-day free trial).

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Is a dark web scan worth paying for? 

Not necessarily. A dark scan will only reveal that your personal information is on the dark web. The most effective steps to protect yourself (cancelling cards, password changes, credit freezes) are free—you don’t need to pay a company for it unless you want to delegate the hassle. And considering the large number of data breaches, it’s actually easier and cheaper to assume your information has been compromised and practice good privacy habits, like frequent password changes.

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In an interview for NBC News’ Better, Neal O’Farrell, executive director of the Identify Theft Council, called dark web scanning “a smoke and mirrors deal” that doesn’t “go to the cause of the problem, which is vigilance, awareness, taking care of your own personal information, freezing your credit.”

It’s also important to understand that the dark web is only one way of selling a stolen identity, as identity thieves can just as easily get this information through phishing or stealing your mail. Of course, a monitoring service can’t hurt if you want to spend the extra money for the alerts—just remember that you can proactively monitor and prevent identity theft for free, and that a dark web scan won’t offer complete protection. If you suspect a data breach, check out this Lifehacker post on the next steps you should take.

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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