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If you’ve ever went about buying something off the deep web, or attempted to, you’ll know the frustration and regret after you realised you’ve been scammed (or phished). Even with experience, laziness can get the better of you and you’ll make some stupid mistakes that you’ll later regret.

Unlike the Clearnet, goods being sold on the deep web are normally illegal and therefore you are not going to get the same support that you’d get with a legitimate business. Basically, you can’t call the police telling them that you bought an ounce of Lemon Haze and except them to help you – that’s obvious, right? Now because of this, scammers see so much potential and decide to ‘exploit’ the opportunity with fake listings, phishing sites and anything else along those lines.

Outside the Marketplace

The first step to not getting scammed is to use the legitimate onion URL for the market that you are trying to access– this is how people get phished. It is probably one of the easiest way to lose your money. Always use reputable sources to find the legitimate dark net market URL and then bookmark them. For a list of marketplaces along with links, click here.

Sometimes, when you are on another device or don’t have a link at hand, you’ll find it easy to google for the marketplace login link. E.g. ‘TradeRoute login page’. As soon as you do this, guess what happens. You’ll get a Google page full of fake phishing links. All it takes is a blink and you’re on the wrong link.

Let me show you:

Most of this URL looks legitimate, in fact, it’s all the exact same except from the extension at the end. This isn’t a .onion link, this is a .top link that someone’s registered in the hopes of getting you to enter your details on their fake page. If you were on a mobile device, you probably wouldn’t have even seen that extension.

If it’s too late and you have already realised that you entered your login details into a phishing page then you immediately need to try and login into your account on the correct URL and change your pin / password. Most marketplaces won’t let you change your password without your pin, hence if you notice that the login page is asking for your pin (which most never do), you know you are on the wrong page.

Inside the Marketplace

Alright, so you know you’re on the correct link and have logged into your favourite Dark Net Marketplace. Now it is time for you to make an order. Most marketplace listings have a choice of either FE (Finalise Early), or Escrow. FE means that the vendor gets to keep your coins as soon as you make the purchase, making you vulnerable to getting scammed. Escrow means that the vendor only gets your coins once you receive your order and press the finalise purchase button. What you choose obviously comes down to you, but there are several factors you should take in mind.

If something seems too good to be true, and its FE, it probably is a scam – check the vendors reviews and ratings. On the other hand, due to the risk associated with FE listings, it is normally easier to grab yourself good deals with FE listings. That’s where you’ve got to make a choice.

If you buy something from an FE listing and it hasn’t arrived, it isn’t the end of the world. If you checked the vendors reviews and they are legitimate, normally they’ll ask for some positive feedback and they will reship or sometimes refund you the purchase. That is why it is so important to choose a good vendor. Choosing a good vendor also means you can do long term business with someone you trust, if that’s your thing.

Don’t Store Your Coins

It isn’t just vendors that can scam you, markets and admins can sometimes scam you too. Or sometimes just a down server or bug. This is why you never store any amount of coins that you care about in your marketplace wallet – keep it safe, store it in your hardware or personal wallet. Common sense people!

One More Tip

Nothing big, but be kind with your vendors and you’ll do good business! Vendors will be much happier to deal with you if you respect them and can handle the situation kindly. Vendors get busy, and so you don’t want to put them in a bad mood. It understandable.