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Scam Prevention and Finalizing Early

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Scamming has, and always will be, a huge issue for any Dark Net Market user. How do you know you’re going to receive the product that’s described in a listing? There are many trains of thought on this issue and many people have vocalized the simple solution “Don’t Finalize Early! Don’t give them money until you get your product!” which is a wonderful piece of advice. When placing an order on a marketplace, there will be an escrow system that holds onto your funds until you authorize the release to the seller.

It’s a classic system, one that has been used even since before Silk Road came to life – the trusted middleman holds onto the funds while the deal is taking place to avoid one person from pulling some kind of scam on the buyer/seller. However, there are still risks involved, and many ask themselves “Why do people finalize early?”

When it comes down to it, someone may be so inclined to finalize an order that hasn’t made it to them yet (or even worse, before the vendor even confirms the order) because of a foundation of trust. Putting your trust into a seller who has provided quality products and has quality feedback makes the escrow system look pointless. When a buyer is staring at 5/5 reviews, with hundreds of orders, there won’t be a single doubt in that buyers mind that anything could possibly happen.

This is where the critical judgment error occurs. Exit scamming has turned into an art – a lucrative and manipulative one, at that. Let’s look back to the original Silk Road, and take a look at one vendor in particular – Tony76.

Now, the more experienced Dark Net users may have an idea of who this is already, but in case you don’t, I’ll give a brief summary. Tony76 registered an account on Silk Road on 10/01/2012, nearly 3 years ago. He was most prominently known for his high quality Heroin, allegedly the best on the market at that time, but also sold MDMA and other products. This vendor was doing everything right, and had great prices and a great army of supporters who would never doubt a thing he said. His prices were so good, he was making a huge name for himself, and it was showing. Customer satisfaction proved to be number one, and over time all buyers had no issues whatsoever buying “finalize-early only” listings, because, hey, it’s Tony! What could go wrong?

Needless to say, Tony disappeared after a massive sale and took his customers Bitcoin with him, never to return, never to ship another package. This is quite an elaborate exit scam, in the sense that it was the “long-con”, make everyone think exactly what you want them to think over the course of a few months and run. This is relevant now more than ever, as there are many FE-only vendors popping up with excellent prices.

History tends to, and will, repeat itself. Don’t get your money stolen by somebody you only know through the internet – it’s silly and when it happens you’ll ask yourself how you could have made such an error. Granted, the escrow system does have its flaws. What if the market goes down, or gets seized, what happens to your money? It’s gone. That’s the inherent risk of Dark Net Markets, and you must always be prepared for the worst. An alternative to this is taking advantage of marketplaces which use multisig escrow, for maximum buyer/seller security, which is implemented on several markets.

Many people will still choose to finalize orders on their own terms, and as long as you know what risk you’re taking by trusting an anonymous vendor, than it’s your call. Stay safe, everyone.

22 comments

  1. EnterTheMatrix is other good example, think there was a writeup on vice or something, or thou will never know who scummed out from the team imho ;]

  2. hi can someone tell me what marketplace that is in the picture??

  3. Another reason why many people FE is because many vendors now offer 2 options: an escrow price and an FE price, with the FE price obviously being lower. Their motivation is not having to wait for A holes that are slow to release escrow after receiving the order, volatile bitcoin prices and the risk of loosing escrow in the event of a market shut down.

    The people I blame most for successful scams are the buyers that post feedback exactly as shown in the article screen shot. They are absolute morons. Why say ” FE will update ” and leave a 5/5 ? It is 100% useless for anybody trying to gauge the legitimacy of the vendor. In fact it makes it more difficult and confusing. A buyer has to sift through all of the idiotic feedback that says ” FE hope it arrives ” to try and find REAL feedback that describes an actual transaction or suspected scam. You idiots manage to leave 20 – 50 feedbacks with a 5/5 rating before receiving anything just so you can say ” FE will update “. Congrats now the vendor has a perfect rating with 40 feedbacks that makes him / her look good at a glance. You have now created ripe conditions for a SCAM.

    If you say FE will update you are a moronic dumb ass. You have managed to help no one but a scammer. You don’t have to leave feedback right after you order – even if you can update it. You should wait until you receive it, thus leaving constructive feedback, or you have determined it is a likely scam.

    Why is this so difficult for people to grasp ? Is it a herd mentality ? Are the majority of DM users ignoramus newbies ?

    • Completely agree! Also those who didn’t get free samples that leave a 5/5 feedback “didn’t arrive, but it was a free sample” – wtf?? samples are given to test the service. if you don’t receive it, it doesn’t mind if it’s a sample or not, the service didn’t work, period.

      • Just this one thing...

        Just a quick note: at least one market if not more DOES automatically add feedback to a vendor’s page once the buyer clicks “finalize”. In my opinion and in those instances, it’s preferable to see “FE, will update” instead of a five star rating. To a new buyer, a comment-less rating can read as a positive experience. Adding “FE will update” (or whatever) ensures potential buyers that the transaction is currently in flux.

    • pluk504

      let me ask this i see sellers with fe and buyers comment after they recieve product should i trust that or is it possible for seller to create his own comments

  4. Vendors who are FE only and offer no escrow alternative blight the whole system. There should be no reason for the buyer to assume ALL of the risk vendors are already very secure in doing business and in return accept a small amount of risk financially. yet some still have the nerve to ask for money before you get the product. if someone asks for money before product on the streets its a fuckin scam.

  5. No matter if you FE or hold out for the product, if the vendor wants to scam you they will still find a way. Plus 90+% of the time darknet market sites staff could really care less about your webcoins until it becomes a major site issue. Although most darknet sites are setup like eBay don’t thank they care a crap about your drug or gun order….Because they don’t! There is no REAL TRUST on the Darknet, form websites, buyers are vendors when it comes down to it…The joy is being anonymous through it all.

    Saying everyone that FE’s is a dumb ass does nothing but show what a real dumb you are for even thanking and saying it. If we where all the same it would be a real fucked up world.

    5+ years on darknet and still happy :0

    • FE will update

      Well obviously we have one of the geniuses who just can’t resist saying ” FE will update “. Dark markets haven’t been around for 5 years Forrest. Run, Forrest, Runnn ! And how many times, in those fictitious 5 yrs, have you been scammed ?

  6. And they will only figure out how to scam an escrow purchase if you are low on the intellectual index.

    If you stay in escrow and don’t let it auto-finalize then you won’t lose your coin. You simply contest the transaction and get your coins returned – Forrest.

  7. As a vendor, let me tell you, that unless you have had to watch your profits locked in escrow fall to nothing before you eyes as you wait patiently for a customer to get around to releasing it. If you have ever had to message and nag people to release. If you have ever dealt with newbies that don’t know what finalize means and “can’t find the button”. If you have ever had to deal with non-existent site support to resolve issues. If you have ever had a market disappear with THOUSANDs of dollars of your in escrow after shipping product….. Then you really cannot possibly understand why Escrow is such a huge pain the the ass for us. If bitcoin were a stable currency it wouldn’t be such a big deal. If DNMs didn’t disappear overnight stealing funds on a regular basis, it wouldn’t be a big deal… But that is not how it is.

    FE is a perfectly acceptable way to do business IF a vendor has plenty of feedback on other sites, and a long history. Sites like AlphaBay that verify sellers before allowing FE are the best bet, and using Grams to independently check on a vendor is something you should always do.

    But to say if you FE you are an idiot is simply ridiculous. Vendors are trying to do business on an unstable platform. They usually have suppliers to pay, and like you they are trying to make a living. It takes a long time and a lot of hard work to get hundreds of positive feedback (unless you sell guides and junk). So when a vendor has been around for a few years, and has hundreds of feedback under his belt, and is on Grams, then you shouldn’t hesitate to think that they are trusted individuals worthy of doing business with.

    Yes there will always be a risk, but the vendors risk far more than buyers in every possible way – so put the shoe on the other foot and look at the big picture.

    Please do not harass vendors that ask for FE. If you don’t like it, then don’t buy! Try to understand where they are coming from. And yes, for the love of god, NEVER leave “FE will update” feedback.

    Thanks.

  8. Damn straight. You nailed it on every point (well, i didnt understand that last sentance, and why leaving feedback like that is a problem). Customers dont seem to realize or care, that by the time us vendors get the funds released to us (and then we still have to sell the BTC to get USD or whatever currency to spend it, and that cost us a fee as well, like 5%) the value of the coin can drop drastically. Eating up any profit we may of made on an order. And yes, the opposite could be true as well, the value could increase. But we have to put up a decent amount of money that unless a customer FE’s, god knows when we will see it back. Not only do we have to buy product, we have to buy packaging/shipping/stealth supplies for the order. We have to buy postage. We as vendors have to cover all this cost upfront. And yes, we eventually get it back (assuming the market doesnt exit scam, or otherwise get scammed). We are basically fronting the customer. So it is particularly bad when customers dont seem to care about that fact and never bother to sign in to finalize the order, and just forget about it. Because then we gotta wait however long until it can be auto-finalized. Alot can happen between then. And unfortunately this is more common then people realize. That people get their order in the mail and dont bother to at the very least take the opportunity to go online that evening and release the funds. I can understand a customer not wanting to take a risk on a new vendor with no established history. But for vendors like us with a ton of orders shipped and perfect feedback on every single one of them, that can be usually confirmed on the market itself, or with Grams (and able to see the history from being on other markets as well) , or with glowing reviews on reddit; there is no excuse to not finalize the order early. Requiring FE shouldnt be necessary, it should be done simply because you have a proven track record as a vendor. As the poster said, customers are not the only ones risking anything, and vendors are just as likely to get scammed as customers. And dear god, if your not going to FE, have the courtesy of releasing the funds the day you get your order, or better yet, after the vendor marks the order as shiped. There is no reason to not support a vendor (using us, 2CBKing, as an exampl) that has over 1000 orders with completely perfect feedback, not a single complaint, and raving review after raving review of how great this vendor is, how fast they were responding, how quick the order came, how great the product was, etc…by FEing. A vendor like that has earned the trust of customers to release their money promptly

  9. “FE Will update” is pure retardation for the following reasons:

    -MOST customers forget to update it
    -It serves NO purpose, no one benefits from it whatsoever as it is not a useful review.
    -It pushes DOWN legitimate and useful feedback to customers
    -It gives potential exit scammers 5/5 feedback for an order that has not yet arrived
    -Or worse, it gives a 0/5 feedback to a legitimate vendor that has fulfilled an order
    -On some markets you cannot update feedback once left
    -On some markets after a certain numbers of days a vendor wipes the order and it cannot be updated, so they are stuck with the feedback forever
    -It end up on Grams and may or may not be updated there

    DON’T DO IT.

    I will cancel and refund or hold an order if a customer does it to me, and once they realize how stupid it is they always remove it and apologize, and never do it again. So take a stand against the “FE will update” idiots and put and end to it.

  10. As a vendor who has vended on many sites, we no longer accept escrow orders. We only do FE.
    Sure “YOU” don’t approve and will cry about it here and complain that I am looking to take your money before you get your product.
    No, I am just like any other online business. You shop, you pay and you’re order gets shipped. Show me ONE online store where you get your product and PAY LATER???? Seriously? :D

    Anyway, my clients are Happy. That means I am happy. WE ALL WIN.

    Let’s see. SR2. Had 50 orders sitting in escrows. Maybe morons like you bought from me, enjoyed their products but didn’t bother to finalize. Then the site went down. With my money. Thank you.

    Again, Abraxas. People don’t finalize. Where’s the money? You got your stuff, and the vendor doesn’t have his money. Maybe when the sites comes back. Maybe in 2 weeks when the order autofinalize.

    No thank you. No escrow for us.
    NONE of my clients ever complained about Finalizing early. Some leave a feedback FE UDATE. Sure. Who cares. Not me. They paid and they can leave any kind of a feedback they want.
    What? The people who never bought from me don’t like it? And????? I only care about my own clients.

    • Jupiter -Rising, your comparison between shopping on the DNM’s to shopping at a legitimate online store is foolish. It’s apples and oranges. If I make a purchase at an online store and they screw up I know who they are and I have recourse either through my credit card company or the vendor itself. If someone like you scams me on a DNM I have very little recourse.

  11. Ya, I see now why that kind of feedback is not beneficial. Have not really ran into it much myself. Jupiter Rising hits it dead on as well. Take ME right now for example. We processed and shipped all orders right before it went down. Anyone who place an order with us will get their order (or likely already have, or will in a day or two). We shipped, so we already put up the money for all the orders (again, drug, packaging, stealth supplies, postage, hell gas/time driving around dropping off orders in blue boxes). But unless ME comes back up, we will never be paid/reimbursed for those orders. Or the other 5-6grand in Escrow. Just like all the other times markets exit scam leaving the vendors screwed (many of us vendors have had this happen more than once). Despite being screwed by a market before, we still do not require FE. But had we required it, or customers had the courtesy to FE based on reputation and trust,
    we wouldnt be out all that money. It would of been withdrawn to an offsite wallet when we marked the order as shipped.

    Another thing no one has brought up: Us vendors have to put up a bond of bitcoin with the market in order to even be a vendor. The entire purpose of this bond is for the admins to use to settle disputes between customer/vendor. To give to a customer who was ripped off by the vendor, etc…Ya, i know the system isnt perfect. Admins can be anything from extremely slow to entirely unresponsive. So disputing something isnt the easiest thing in the world, but at least you have that option. Vendors cant say the same thing. There is no fund the buyers have to put up in order to make an order. So not only does the vendor have to put out all the money the order cost to fill (essentially fronting you the product to get paid back god knows when), they dont really have any recourse or means to get their money or product back. So buyers (of which many vendors are also buyers on DNMs), do your vendor the courtesy of finalizing your order early, especially if they are established with alot of feedback and good ratings.

  12. ME is gone, and so is Abraxas, both in a mater of weeks. If we had done Escrow sales on these markets we would have lost over $20k, and the fall out from that in real world terms would have been a real pain. So there you go. FE is now a necessity.

    Dream Market has some stupid rules BTW. Even sellers with 1000+ 5/5 feedback and years of sales can’t FE until they have 50 sales. Shame because it is a clean quick market with very responsive support.

    Its come to a point where vendors now will have to watch for markets scamming them by demanding escrow sales.

    Thank goodness for AlphaBay… all I’m saying.

  13. Totally.
    FE only for us.
    How many times did we lose our money sitting in escrow?
    Silk road, SR2, Evolution, BlackBank, Abraxas etc???

    It’s usually the newbies or people who write/read crap articles like this, who require escrow. Luckily, we do not deal with them, and we do not need their business.

    Same old story. A moron buys using escrow, days go by, he doesn’t FE and the site exit scams.
    The vendor is our of PRODUCT and MONEY. Double loss. For what? Seriously.

    AlphaBay is the best market at the moment.
    I don’t trust any other markets who REQUIRE the vendor to use ESCROW. Why? Because that’s how their bullshit works. They require escrow so they can exit scam just like everyone else did.

  14. Personally as a vendor I will not operate on a market without FE. As a veteran vendor do you buyers have any clue the amount of money most of us have lost over the years from markets closing. Its the name of the game, it sucks but its how it is.

  15. hey im reading this and i get vendors and customers point of view but vendors lets be fa real dont blame the customers its the fuckface newbies or some veteran vendors that scam people and make it look bad for yall fe vendors and btw some vendors with fe and positive feedback do have the tech skills to create they own positive comments

  16. The drug game is full of rip offs in “real life” so I guess the same will follow through on the dark web. Suppliers have good quality then have bad quality, sometimes they just try not deliver the goods. Honestly if you are thinking of getting into the business to make money there is more money in legitimate business and there still is problems but you are 100x less likely to be killed or home invaded. You can even run white collar skimming scams like high frequency trading and make millions, and the government won’t touch you as long as you pay tax

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