After the shut down of the infamous Silk Road marketplace in 2013, a lot of dark web markets have emerged with a significant increase in users influx. As time goes on, law enforcement saw the existence of the dark web markets as the major reason for the high incidents of overdose deaths across the globe.
Law enforcement has been going undercover on the dark web to find evidence to shut down some of these platforms and get administrators arrested. Over the past few years, a lot of the dark web markets have been taken down by law enforcement including the Hansa, Alphabay, Dream market and many more.
Image Source: www.inverse.com
Why Dark Web Markets Vanish?
According to research, dark web markets vanish for two main reasons. The first is “through exit scam”. Any online platform that handles money is more likely to pull an exit scam.
Not getting me wrong, there are a lot of genuine businesses and platforms that safely handle funds of customers with much focus on building trust among users online than leaving with a bunch of money whiles leaving people frustrated, and finding a safe place to hide forever. Many of the dark web markets ceased operation after giving false excuses asthey planned from the beginning to stage an exit scam.
An exit scam is usually a deliberate decision by the market administrators to cease operation without any alert, escaping with the money deposited and generated by the buyers and vendors. Most of the dark web markets operate in an escrow services, where buyers and sellers deposit money into the platform’s financial system. When much money is accumulated, they fake excuses, claiming they have technical challenges. Others also claim they have a problem with their financial system or their withdrawal system, assuring users that they are working on them.
Some platforms only allow deposits but deactivate withdrawal and encourage users to keep operating as the problem would be resolved. Within the twinkle of an eye, they vanish without a trace.
The second reason why some of the dark web markets vanish is through the operations launched by law enforcement. Law enforcement sees the dark web as a place where criminals run to operate illicit trades while hiding their IP addresses.
A lot of dark web arrests were orchestrated by law enforcement personnel posing as undercover agents to negotiate trade with vendors to lure them out of their hideouts. After they find enough evidence of a market facilitating illegal operation, they proceed to shut it down.
Empire Market Planning an Exit Scam?
Similarly to the many incidents of dark web market exit scams, researchers have detected in addition to a higher frequency of credible rumors that Empire market will pull an exit scam sooner or later. It was reported that a user of one of the popular dark web markets portal has accused the administrator of Empire market of scamming customers.
An attempt to contact the support for help was no avail, and they can find examples of why Empire market is exhibiting exit scam behavior just as the dark web markets that vanished out of a thin air in the past.
Image Source: darkwebmarket.io
Similarly to the case of Wall Street Market, customers logged complaints regarding certain issues but were ignored by supports.
The few that were replied were given hopeless assurance and eventually vanished with about $14 million worth of cryptocurrency right before the law enforcement pounced on them. In some cases, the challenges faced by the dark web websites may truly be technical challenges. Fixing whatever problems they confront should not take forever, and they are responsible to calm the users and assure them that operation would resume within a stated timeframe.
It is very important to understand that any online venture that handles money is vulnerable to all factors that force business out of operation. It is therefore important to deal with them with caution to avoid losing a bunch of money if any of these happens. The dark web markets that intend to pull an exit scam along the way have a common behavior of pending transactions and ignoring support tickets.
Source: Group Sense
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