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Another Crypto Exit Scam! Dark Web Marketplace Goes Offline

Crypto Exit scams are mounting on Dark Web marketplaces, making buyers and vendors baffled on the concerns about exposure to law enforcement.

One of the biggest English speaking Dark Web drug marketplaces suddenly went offline from the past few days, causing distress and rumors among the users and vendors about its existence, and how the money can be recovered held in escrow.

Empire Market, the drug market place where users illicitly buy and sell drugs of all variety via cryptocurrency (BTC, LTC, XMR) is also a place of offering fake documents like drivers’ licenses, passports, and off-the-shelf point-of-sale (POS) malware to make modifications, and target their attacks straightforwardly.

Source: Web DarknetStats

At present, the Empire Market site isn’t accessible to anyone “which naturally leads to speculations in the underground that this might be an exit scam.” Bloomberg mentioned while citing Mark Arena, CEO at Intel 471 Inc.- a global cybercrime intelligence company.

Reportedly, the operators/administrators of the Alphabay-style black marketplace are unknown to anyone, and the money is not traceable as commerce used to take place in cryptos.

Empire Market offered features like MultiSig and PGP 2FA which became a highly trafficked drug-dealing website after the shutdown of a similar $214 million online darknet marketplace “Silk Road” where users transacted in Bitcoin to purchase dangerous drugs, hacking rigs along with other fake identity documents. The illegal site was founded by entrepreneur  Ross William Ulbricht aka “Dread Pirate Roberts.” The  Silk Road site busted in Oct 2013 by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Why the Empire Market Went Offline! No Clue 

The grounds of offline drug dealing darknet marketplace is still unknown. Moreover, there is no clarity if the law enforcement shuts it down as there is no notice on the homepage.

As per the information, no conclusion on the denial-of-service attacks has been found. As of writing, it’s more than 3 days which otherwise, in general, takes a day utmost, if denial-of-service attack runs. This strange state leading to speculations on possibly a major exit scam.

Source: Web DarknetStats

Arena commented:

Running this kind of illegal “forum or marketplace typically leads the administrators to one of two possible outcomes” … “They are either arrested by law enforcement or participate in an “exit scam” in which they steal deposits from users.”

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