Boogie, a moderator over at Evolution market has posted a nice little post on Reddit about being smart on the Deep Web. The original post can be seen here.
During my years on TOR, I have seen countless scam attempts and many sad faces of those who were ripped off. Let’s face it. Here in the deep web, scammers will always exist, plain and simple. no matter how hard we all try to bust them down, their presence will always remain. You will find them on forums, their own websites, and throughout all major and established dark markets. Now that we all have accepted this sad issue, let’s discuss the many methods to help prevent you from falling into this trap.
First and foremost, the number one rule when doing business on the deep web is to always trust your instinct. I’m sure all of you heard this old saying before: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. I know it’s very cliche, but it still holds a lot of merit. Most scam victims fail to follow this quote and go with their impulses instead. They see a product or deal at a astounding price, that they don’t think of anything else but having the items in their hands. It’s like being hypnotized in a sense. Don’t worry, I’m not talking down on anyone. It’s human nature to follow with impulses. Just remember that next time you see an amazing deal, think it through and see if this can be realistic.
Now that we covered the golden rule. I’m now going to discuss the different types of scam methods that are present thought the deep web. Please post if I left anything out or if you have any questions or comments.
The Hidden Wiki (THW)
THW is probably one of the oldest sites still in existance on TOR. It is more then likely one of the first sites many people new to TOR visit. It can be quite an amazing discovery seeing all the differnt businesses selling drugs, weapons, fraud items, stolen electronics, etc. For a lack of words, it’s really awesome to see that you now have access to pretty much anything you want when you didn’t prior to setting up TOR.
Now the problem here is that THW can be moderated by pretty much anyone who has registered an account. Some of the nefarious Hidden Wiki staff are very aware of the many new comers to th deep web. This is why it is safe to that just about every commercial site on THW are scams. Plan and simple. Even legitimate and well known markets featured on THW are more then likely phishing sites set up to steal your account information.
Long story short, AVOID the hidden wiki when searching for market links.
Example of Phishing site for SR 2.0 (DO NOT LOGIN!): https://e5wvymnx6bx5euvy.onion/ -best way to tell is that the URL is obviously the wrong one.
If you need a link to a market site, visit the subreddit DarkNetMarkets (https://www.reddit.com/r/DarkNetMarkets/) or the Deep Dot Web (https://www.deepdotweb.com/). These sites provide legitimate market links that are never altered. If anyone knows of any other sites new comers can use to find legit links, please toss them up.
Non-Market Commercial Sites
Just like the ones listed on THW, pretty much all of the small sites that sell products and services are all pretty much scams. The only exception are sites that operated by established market vendors who are well-recognized and can be verified with their PGP. If anyone needs help verifying someones PGP, you are more then welcome to message me and I’ll be glad to help. Plus, there are a few sites that catalog vendor PGPs and offer verification as well. I’ll show you some examples of sites and how to tell the are rippers.
Green Notes Counter: https://67yjqewxrd2ewbtp.onion/
Here is a site that sells counterfeit money. Sadly they do not accept escrow and give the typical scammer reason that they do not trust escrow sites. But for some ill-logic reason, it’s okay to trust them. Lol -yeah right.
Double Your BTC: https://jmkxdr4djc3cpsei.onion/
Here is a site that “promises” to return to you the double amount of BTC you send them. Let’s think about this, who on earth will give you free money? No one that’s who. If they have such a wonderful method on doubling bitcoin, then why would they share it and not just keep it themselves to get rich? Well, actually they do have a method for getting rich, it’s by stealing others coin.
Carder’s Paradise: https://cardsv4kovqmjr37.onion/
Oh wow! a site that sells cloned debit cards with a pin# so that you can just easily walk to any ATM and cash it out. Just like with the double your btc service, who in their right mind would give away free money? Why couldn’t they just keep the cards and cash them out themselves? These are the question you have to ask and the true simple answer is that they don’t have any cards. They just want your coin and bolt.
People’s Drug Store: https://newpdsuslmzqazvr.onion/
Just another rip-off site that offers no escrow protection and just wants steal from you. same with the other mentioned sites, they state that once payment is received, they will mail you the shipping information. I hate to say it but you will be waiting a long time for that info. IMPORTANT: Keep and eye out with other sites using the same format. They are hosted by a pseudo-organization called TorShops. Avoid all of their sites at all costs!
iPhones for 50%: https://iphoneavzhwkqmap.onion/
I’m just gonna say it, all of these electronic stores are scams. Never have I seen a legit ones. Either they feed you a line of shit on why they don’t escrow and there are ones that offer a fake “escrow” service. The sites with “escrow accepted” will usually send you a link to a site you probably never heard of and ask you do depoist money and simply release it when you get your item. Sadly, the electronic site most likely owns that escrow site and will just take the btc and avoid your emails.
I won’t go into a lot of detail but the self-operated sites that sell guns and offer hitman services. They are all scams plain and simple. The solution is to just stick to the established markets and use their escrow system. Remember, escrow is the main line of defense that protects you from losing your coin. Always use it.
Scammers on Commercial Markets
This section will cover how to spot and deal with rippers that use established markets to host their scam. Some of them demand FE on everything, others will appear to have outstanding feedback, and there are even some that offer escrow too. Crazy, I know. So here are the ways to spot them and some tactics they use to steal your coins.
The first and easy ones to spot are the brand new vendors to a site with no reputation and off the bat request FE. They either sell a great variety of different products (red flag) at great price hoping to grab as many customers as possible. Or, they have a few big and expensive products and wait until someone takes the bait. when you spot these people, question them on why they don’t accept escrow. The most common replies scammers give are “they don’t trust escrow” or “BTC is too unpredictable”. Whatever excuse they give you, just walk away. I know, that’s a killer deal they offer, but wouldn’t you rather be at peace of mind? There are plenty of legit vendors that accept escrow. Don’t risk it and go with them. I forgot to mention, always check their feedback and the forums to find any reviews the vendor may have. This will give you better assurance whether or not to deal with the vendor.
A lot of the time. you will find scammers with amazing feedback. How could this be? Well, they use the tactic called feedback stacking. This is when a scammer registers numerous buyer accounts and buy from themselves and leave amazing feedback. Here is what to look for when spotting padded feedback: numerous complete orders on the same day, price is extremely low or item was deleted, same username or same comments are used over and over again.
Example: if you have Pandora, login and check out this seller’s profile (Note: this is not an attack on Pandora, it was just an example I found. These are found on every market. Sorry Pandora)
Scroll all the way down and look at the feedback (long way down. seller’s way of hiding it). Loot at that. This is probably the most obvious padded feedback ever seen. Some are more clever then that, but they always slip up by showing a pattern. You’ll notice it when you come across it.
When you order from a vendor and the item is in escrow, make sure you note the shipping time. A lot of rippers will set a short shipping time hoping that you won’t notice so that the order will auto-finalize. Just remember when funds are released whether after FE’ing or the order auto-finalized, the first thing that vendor will do is quickly withdraw the coin to their wallet. It is now out of the staff’s hands to recover your money.
One final note, be careful when posting in the wanted or buyer request section of a market’s forum. This is where a lot of rip offs occur. You may get plenty of PMs from people who aren’t even a vendor saying they can help you out. Just remember to tell them HELL NO and wait for a verified vendor to reply. Because you know what’s gonna if you decide to follow through with that PM offer.
Well this is what I got so far. Pretty long-winded I know. Please feel free to ask question or toss in any extra info I forgot to discuss. Stay safe out there everyone and remember that golden rule: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is =)
Here are two awesome sites to use at your disposal.
Google (yes, google): https://www.google.com/imghp – This can be used for reverse image searching. I have caught tons of scammers this way. Copy their posting and upload the picture. You will find where they stole the image they are claiming is their product.
Foto forensics: https://fotoforensics.com/ – scans the metadata and does a error level analysis. Perfect for finding out if they photo shopped that piece of paper with their signature and date on it. Hilarious when you see their reaction when you call them out on it =P
I’ll post more when I think of them. Plus – always post any tips of your own too.