Posts Tagged ‘internet scam’

Note: although it is a simple matter to discover the true identity of “John”, the internet being what it is, I’m not going to blatantly do so here, as there is an indefinite court order prohibiting naming either of the boys.

This is another entry into my series of a behind-the-scenes look at the episodes I write for the podcast Casefile. These posts will explain how and why I choose each case and the research that goes into writing the stories.

A still from Channel 4 doco “Psycho: Kill me if you can”

 

This one is about Case 104: Mark and John. Note there are spoilers below.

I have a penchant for internet-related cases, so when I first read about the Mark and John case, it was a no-brainer that I was going to do it.

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The problem with writing a new book is that you save all the good stuff for the book and that leaves you with nothing for the blog. So in desperation, I’ve been clicking on random links from Onion crawlers to see if there’s anything new, relevant and/or even vaguely interesting happening in the deep dark web.

Mr Robot Spoilers - going cheap on the Dark Web

Mr Robot Spoilers – going cheap on the Dark Web

Here’s a glimpse of where that little experiment took me.

Get in quick for the October 1 Dark Red Room Show

Yes, for those who missed out on their September 17th and September 24th show, you have another chance! One reviewer of an earlier show give it 5 Stars! (Though you have to wonder if they exaggerated because they admitted they get a discount for the next show for the good review). That’s much better than the review I gave the ISIS Red Room (not enough bacon).

dark-red-room-1

Hmmm… this “once-in-a-lifetime experience” is onto it’s third show

But if you missed it and are convinced by the glowing review (“the video was very high resolution and didn’t buffer . . . I noticed there was plenty of evidence to reassure the viewer that it was live and not pre-recorded“) the next episode of torture, murder and a gynaecologist wielding power tools (running time 45 mins unless subject expires sooner) is scheduled for October 1.

Slight catch – they want half a Bitcoin up front to watch the action. But they get that you might not be flush with the old cryptocurrency, so they are willing to take “any reasonable amount” and let you watch a pro rata amount of the action.

You can’t ask for better terms than that. Jump on this bargain before its sold out.

Can’t keep a good hitman down

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The hack of dark web “murder-for-hire” outfit Besa Mafia, which I wrote about a couple of days ago. has provided a treasure trove of stories of people who are prepared to go to extreme measures to be rid of someone in their lives. Most never got further than the initial enquiries. A few parted with tens of thousands of dollars. Nobody got much satisfaction.

One of the first customers that Besa Mafia engaged with was a Texan fellow who wanted to put out a hit on his ex-wife. It didn’t go quite to plan. Especially once Guido came into the conversation.

revolver_bang

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Before the recent hack confirmed definitively what rational people already knew – i.e. that the dark web “murder-for-hire” site was a scam – it was a little disconcerting that Besa Mafia’s No.1 FAQ was Do you have people in Australia?

Eeek! Look at what the No.1 most Frequently Asked Question is!

Aussies have always been big users of the DNMs

Now a thorough search of the leaked mails and orders has found no evidence that any of the people who made Australian-based enquiries parted with any money. However, at least one sent full details of the intended victim.

Compared to the US orders (where payments were made), interest seems to peter out fairly quickly from most of the Aussie enquirers. (If you haven’t heard about the site or the hack, catch up here).

I’ve compiled a list of the Australian interactions with the site, presented in an easy-read format, without commentary but accompanied by whimsical illustrations for you:

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According to FBI documents, Dread Pirate Roberts claims to have carried out one hit and was haggling on price for another. But was he the victim of an elaborate hoax?

Did DPR really fall for a hitman hoax like this?

Did DPR really fall for a hitman hoax like this?

According to the FBI’s Criminal Complaint, Silk Road’s owner, the Dread Pirate Roberts, sought to engage a hitman to deal with a blackmailer who was threatening to expose names and addresses of some of the site’s top vendors. DPR allegedly exchanged messages with someone called “redandwhite” who offered to carry out the hit for between $150,000 and $300,000 depending on whether DPR wanted the hit to be “clean or unclean”.

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The most successful Australian vendor on Silk Road has conned their customers out of tens of thousands of dollars

Red pill, blue pill or no pills?

Red pill, blue pill or no pills?

Aussie vendor EnterTheMatrix had a simple and effective business model.  Purchase Australia’s most popular party drugs from overseas vendors on Silk Road, add a 400% markup and resell them to Aussie Silk Road customers.  Although there were plenty of grumbles about the prices, those who wanted their drugs quickly (ETM sent by Express Post) and did not want to take the risk of importing via Customs (legal consequences are much harsher when ordering overseas) begrudgingly paid a premium.  After all, it was around the same as street prices and at least the quality of the goods tended to be consistently high.

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Ever since the suspected DDoS attack in November, the admins at Silk Road have been combating a number of different scams and attacks on the site.

The Quickbuy Scam (see below) - this vendor's image has been hacked with a fake bitcoin address

The Quickbuy Scam (see below) – this vendor’s image has been hacked with a fake bitcoin address

It’s hard to tell whether this is a concerted attack by one group determined to piss the website off or each one is separate. The most pervasive ones have been:

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