dark web scams

Top 5 Dark Web Scams to Avoid in 2019

in Deep Web

While the dark web provides a platform for free speech and private communication, it is overrun by criminals who try to scam other dark web users.

In this guide, you will discover five of the most common dark web scams you need to avoid while surfing the deep web.

Murder-for-hire Scam

Some platforms on the dark web claim they can help people kill whoever they choose; however, it has been discovered that oftentimes no one ever gets murdered. Instead, these platforms take users’ money and falsely claim that they have killed the person; some platform admins leak users’ information to the police.

People have narrated their experiences about hitmen asking for money upfront, which means they could easily run away without fulfilling the job.

For example, Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, had allegedly hired a hitman while he was running the dark web drug store. But it turned out that the hitman was a DEA agent posing as a hitman. There are rumors of real hitmen sites that lurk on the dark web, but there is little evidence for it.

Gift Card Scams

Gift card fraud is big business, both on the dark web and surface web. Though there are genuine gift cards sold on the darknet, many buyers have also been ripped off.

These gift cards are often obtained fraudulently either using a stolen credit card or hacked PayPal account to purchase the gift cards. The risk of buying such gift cards, even though they sell for a ridiculously low price, is that you become an accomplice to a crime.

Also, there is just no way to verify that the gift cards you are buying from dark web marketplaces are valid. Though most platforms boast that they have a robust escrow system, nevertheless, lots of people are still sold invalid gift cards.

Exit Scams

Perhaps unsurprisingly, exit scams are prevalent on a version web where everyone is anonymous. It occurs when a site administrator shuts down a marketplace without any notice and transfers any money left in the digital wallet or escrow to a personal account.

Darknet vendors tend to disappear entirely after defrauding buyers. Of course, most buyers are not aware of this until it is too late because these stores are often highly rated.

One of the most prominent exit scams was the dark web marketplace Evolution, whose administrators made off with $12 million in bitcoin held in escrow in 2012.

The idea behind an exit scam by a darknet marketplace is to take as much money as possible and run whenever law enforcements are closing in on a store.

Fake Products

There are lots of knock off products on the dark web. From sneakers to watches, there are fake products on sale all over the dark web.

Most marketplaces on the dark web do not have a money-back policy. Whatever users buy is a gamble, and they have to bear the risk.

Of course, some people are comfortable with buying a knock-off version of an expensive brand like Louis Vuitton or Gucci but for those who want to buy the originals, there are better places to shop online than the dark web.

Typosquatting scam

A common tactic used by fraudsters on the darknet to get people’s data or money is called typosquatting.

Malicious actors register a domain and create a website that is a lookalike of a legitimate website, deceiving innocent web surfers.

Typosquatting is much more prevalent with onion sites than the surface web because of the way onion domains work. Onion domains typically have characters that are unmemorizable by an average web user. Example of an onion domain is 8snate4ro3if9v52.onion. This domain type makes it difficult for most people to distinguish between the real website and a fake.

There have been reports that many popular marketplaces on the dark web have lots of lookalikes looking to defraud users.

These slightly modified domain names are some times found in link directories. If you intend to visit a site on the darknet, ensure you get the Tor domain name from the right source and store it; you can then copy and paste into the address bar on subsequent visits.

Dark web scams are just one of many reasons to only access the dark web if you have to and you know what you are doing.

Feranmi is a freelance contributor to the Dark Web Journal. He is an experienced researcher and writer in areas such as decentralization and cryptocurrencies.