The dark web is synonymous with fraud schemes and other forms of socially deviant crafts. Well-to-do tech pundits and the regular laypeople understand that darknet markets, hosted on the dark web, have become havens for criminals to undertake their activities under the veil of online anonymity.
Darknet markets have been considered as critical aggregators for various forms of illegal activity. Accordingly, people have associated these markets with the drug trade, the organ business, and identity theft.
While this holds truth, darknet markets are equally populated with scammers that target the hidden web’s first-time visitors.
The goal of these scammers is to primarily steal money from oblivious visitors that are out to obtain goods and services from these marketplaces. In this breath, reports of users paying for undelivered goods and services are rife.
Additionally, the availability of counterfeit goods is also another facet that typifies darknet scamming schemes.
Common Dream Market Scamming Incidents
The Dream Market forum exposes the filth that has riddled darknet markets for a while now. User testimonials and complaints indicate a series of recurrent scamming incidents that lead to users’ economic losses, including: phishing scams, fake goods, and paid but non-delivered orders.
Phishing scams have become an incessant nuisance within the corridors of darknet markets. The hidden web has been plagued by phishing attacks that have become very rampant in the marketplaces – they have become the order of the day.
The Dream Market forum welcomes users with a message warning them against opening links in the comments section whereby most of the links are potentially phishing links. These links usually direct users to fake websites that have been designed to harvest user data.
This problem has placed Dream Market moderators to task as they are forced to constantly clear accumulated links off the threads.
In this sense, it is vital for darknet users to be extra cautious about their activities on the Clearnet. This concerns websites that they visit, which would be ample playgrounds for notorious phishers.
This aspect is especially important in the face of a rapidly evolving darknet environment. Phishers have developed tactics that can hoodwink even the most seasoned of the darknet market users.
A common methodology is to disguise phishing sites as tech information websites and news platforms.
The sites are usually replicas of other websites which can hardly be differentiated from each other. The phishing links to darknet markets may be distinguishable from the intended website URL by a few characters.
Recently, the Dream Market forum has been abuzz with complaints by darknet users concerning significant losses that have been sustained through phishing scams that would leave their market wallets empty. In this taste, it is advisable for users to shun leaving crypto coins in their market wallets.
The sale of fake goods is another form of scamming that is rampant on Dream Market. A host of customer posts made on the Dream Market forum have accused some vendors of selling fake merchandise. A good example is the advertisement of fake drugs that irks buyers in the marketplace.
A Dream Market user once complained that he had procured fake coke unknowingly. According to his account, the substance that was delivered to him did not cause “feelings” that are expectedly stimulated by coke.
He feared that the substance was just an agglomeration of drugs that may include amphetamines and pseudoephedrine.
It is worth noting that Dream Market scammers manage to sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting users through fake accounts. These accounts are usually created to fabricate illegitimate reviews that are supposed to mislead prospective Dream Market buyers.
Additionally, some scamming cases may be blamed on user ignorance – an inexperienced drug user may be unable to distinguish real substances from the fake ones.
It is arguably prudent for scammed users to warn others by flagging known fraudulent darknet vendors.
Paid but Undelivered Orders
Furthermore, it is a common occurrence for some Dream Market vendors to fail in the delivery of already-paid-for goods and services.
This darknet market has been alleged of hosting seasoned scammers that collaborate with Dream Market moderators to scam users.
In a forum post, one user intimated that he had not received tracking credentials for goods that had been ordered a long time ago.
Scamming vendors have been placed under the spotlight for avoiding providing their clients with the escrow purchase option.
Sadly, most users express their disappointment concerning Dream Market’s indifference towards the issue.
A Culture of Darknet Exit Scams
After delving into the typically reported scams on one of the popular darknet markets, it would be prudent to briefly focus on the commonality of dark web exit scams.
While darknet users are generally blamed for pulling scams on their users, actual dark web marketplaces have orchestrated darknet exit scams that left users counting losses.
Historically, dark web marketplaces have mastered the art of accumulating a significant number of users before pulling the carpet out from under their feet and disappearing with people’s funds. This usually happens once the site admins have accumulated their desired amount of cryptocurrency.
Currently, this practice has changed to target first time users that make, say, Bitcoin deposits. This reality has been illustrated by various darknet market forum posts that accuse site admins of arbitrarily blocking user accounts, which leads to economic losses.
Various theories have been established to explicate the reasons surrounding darknet exit scams. Notably, the current intergovernmental fight against the proliferation of darknet sites may explain the instability of marketplaces hosted by on the dark web.
Otherwise, some darknet operators are only interested in short-term darknet activity that affords them substantial economic gains following a successful exit scam.
Did Dream Market Attempt to Pull an Exit Scam?
In September 2017, Dream Market experienced downtime that lasted several hours.
This occurrence caused fears among the market’s users that Dream Market admins had either pulled an exit scam or had been compromised by law enforcement.
Speculations concerning a possible exit scam became ripened following the site’s recovery from the downtime due to the emergence of user complaints about loss of funds and the unsanctioned finalization of some transactions when vendors had not received money.
Similarly, earlier user reports about the site’s login difficulties had fueled allegations that Dream Market admins were orchestrating an exit scam.
These difficulties were said to occur despite other Tor-supported platforms working well.
Some vendors complained that Dream Market had blocked their 2FA login credentials despite being sufficiently popular traders on the marketplace – with a 5-star rating on the platform.
The vendors were unable to use their accounts, and this was quite upsetting considering that they had many pending orders that needed to be serviced.
Efforts to seek the attention of site moderators bore no fruit as Dream Market did not respond to their complaints. Furthermore, attempts to get a solution through the marketplace forum proved futile.
Shockingly, the trader sentiments did not end there. The admin deleted the vendors’ forum accounts owing to the fact that their posts were causing unrest among the forum participants.
As would be expected, this move served to keep the market’s malpractices under wraps.
These incidents and other unreported cases contributed to the belief that the Dream Market admins were attempting to scam them and orchestrate a foolproof exit scam on the site’s community.