How do people access it then?
The way to access the dark web is by using particular open-source (free to use) heavily encrypted browsers. You can use these browsers for the regular internet if you so wish if you’re feeling extra precautious. This browser will re-route your connection to the dark web around the world several times before you make a connection. It can be a little slower to use when you’re pretending to be in India, China, Canada, and Peru all at the same time. But that’s the cost of privacy.
What is actually on the dark web?
Some of its unspeakable, but mostly its just trash. Scammers are trying to scam other scammers. People use it for the sale of contraband using cryptocurrencies. Mostly guns, drugs, counterfeit money, and people’s credit card details. Scammers will collect as much credit card info as they can and then sell them online. See, these thieves don’t want to get caught using the stolen credit cards themselves, so they sell them off in bundles on the dark web.
You might have your card stolen, and the thief will sell it on for $50 and save themselves the hassle of trying to use your money without getting arrested.
Could my identity be stolen and sold this way?
As it is one of, if not the most, common ways that identity theft takes place. Yes, it could be stolen this way. Your entire identity: name, address, credit card number, tax number, social security, etc. This could all be bundled off together on the dark web for less than the cost of going out for dinner. Your accounts won’t be hacked per se though they will be exposed. It’s widespread, especially in the US and other wealthy countries.