Deep Web Scam Sites: The Ugly Truth and How to Protect Yourself
Many people are aware of the “deep web,” but consider it an elusive urban legend. Mainly, what we call the “deep web” is a part of the Internet which is not discoverable by search engines. However, there are deep web scam sites which you should be aware of.
This means that the content it contains is not indexed like standard websites are. This is helped by the use of dynamic password encrypted pages and networks. Google makes light of this by displaying the following joke when the term “deep web” is searched: “The biggest weakness of the deep web, is also its greatest strength: it’s tough to find anything.”
Why You Should Use the Deep Web … or Not!
In general, it’s not necessary or needed for an average Internet user to head over the potential “darkness” of the deep web. Still, it is good to know that pop culture and exaggeration have perpetuated some of the fear manufactured for this form of web search.
The deep web is still part of the internet and many of the same precautions used anywhere you search online are required. This is not to say that the deep web is without real risks or danger.
Many deep web users combat this by using a TorBrowser which limits the security and privacy threats a standard browser has. If you are unable to access a TorBrowser or don’t want it discoverable, consider adding a TorBridge.
Still, use caution! Just as content on the deep web can be exciting and different, it can also be disturbing.
Which Brings Us to Common Deep Web Scam Sites
Hidden what? The hidden wiki was a public site founded in 2011, which promised viewers a deluge of links to the deep web. Most of the websites were for scammers and thieves, promising to link them up with stolen PayPal or credit card information.
After the hosting site for hidden wiki went out of business, duplicate “hidden wiki” sites popped up. These appeared indistinguishable from the initial official page and instead of sending people to websites for their thieving, they stole and phished information from those coming to their page!
Think you’re personal information is in the deep web? Run a reverse search to check and protect yourself from the deep web:
Even if you would never use such a page, if you have a home computer or network which you share with family or others, your personal, bank, and credit information may still be at risk!
Stolen Credit Card or Bank Information
Still feeling safe on the deep web? Then don’t buy anything using a credit card or bank routing number. The operator accepting the credit card charge might be tough to track or exist only to scam you out of current and future money. If you use a credit card or bank info online, consider setting up transaction alerts with the card issuer – by email or text – so you can be aware of unwanted purchases.
The dark web is also used to hack credit information directly through merchants or banks. The stolen information may be used directly by the thief or taken in batches or sold and eventually laundered for profit! Think Bitcoin is a solution? Only use Bitcoin if it has an escrow connected to it. Bitcoin is also the subject of deep web scams.
Bitcoin Proxy Theft
Considered a premiere web currency for the deep (dark) web, Bitcoin has the privacy plus of being (mostly) untraceable. However, Bitcoin can also be stolen! Proxy scams redirect users to web pages different than the ones they originally intended.
When a URL doesn’t display the traditional “https://,“ a Tor network user may be uncertain if they’ve been redirected to an unintended page. That means that they may end up paying their Bitcoins to someone who pockets the cash, without delivering the content or goods.
Imagine you go to a web page showcasing the content you want. It appears to have exactly what you expect, and you trust what you see. On the deep web, this can be a manufactured site that has been created to duplicate a real site but scams you with a proxy or phishing page.
The page’s real goal?
To steal your money (credit card, bank info, or Bitcoin). Sometimes called “Onion Cloning” this is popular with everything from pharmaceutical pages to blogs and more.
Illegal Downloads of Pornography and Child Pornography
One of the worst parts of the deep web (though arms trafficking isn’t great either) is child pornography, which exists more than one would hope for. While it is rare for most users of the deep web to find child porn by “accident,” it is a good reminder to NOT download content, especially adult pornography, through the deep web.
There is a chance that what you’re downloading has multiple images attached and is not what you expect. Prosecutors in child pornography cases do not care about intent and won’t accept a download “whoops” when charging someone with a crime.
As age can be hard to determine through an unmarked photograph, you might think what you are downloading an image of an 18 plus adult. However, prosecutors estimate age in child pornography images and might find the subject to appear younger (age 14, etc.) and charge you anyway.
While not a scam, the deep web contains everything from murder for hire sites and the, previously mentioned, arms dealings. This means caution over which pages are sought out and viewed is mandatory.
Even if you’re only browsing so out of boredom or curiosity, one purchase can take your hard earned money. Additionally, a chance page being retained in your viewing history could potentially set off alarms should you ever mistakenly be charged with a crime or investigated.
While the deep web has real uses – including privacy concerns, political dissidents, information, and the Tor network, don’t underestimate that it is often associated with illegal content, theft, and drugs.
Think you’re personal information is in the deep web? Run a reverse search to check and protect yourself from deep web scam sites: