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The Great 420 Scam

A drug dealer ripping off customers?  The nerve!

Tony76 got to keep the money AND the drugs…

Silk Road, as I reported previously, is the online illicit drug marketplace that has defied law enforcement efforts to close it down.  Last month, Silk Road reported the greatest scam in its fifteen-month history, which cost the site’s users over a hundred thousand dollars in just two days.

Silk Road’s vendors live and die by their reputation and feedback, which buyers give much as they do on eBay.  Nobody on Silk Road had a better reputation or more enthusiastic feedback than Tony76, a vendor of heroin, stimulants and psychedelics from Canada.

The site has a system of escrow in place – a user places an order, money goes into escrow and the user releases it once the order has been received.  Any disputes can be referred to the site’s administrators for resolution.

However, ‘trusted vendors’ have always been allowed to request that users ‘finalize early’ – release the funds immediately.  New members to the site are often asked to do so until they prove themselves to be ‘trusted buyers’, and sellers will ask for early finalisation when bitcoin – the virtual currency used to trade on the site – is fluctuating wildly.

A few days before the great ‘420 Sale and Giveaway’ held on April 20, Tony76 posted in the forums that he was being targeted by a vindictive rival seller who had threatened to set up bogus buyer accounts to order thousands of dollars of drugs in “multiple orders, in multiple names, from multiple states”. Tony would have no way of knowing which were the bogus accounts and would lose the money not released from escrow.

‘Don’t worry’ came the flood of replies from Silk Road’s community.  ‘Everyone knows and trusts you, Tony.  To avoid this horrible scammer, just make everyone finalize early.’

So when Silk Road held the ‘420 Sale and Giveaway’, the site’s highest-grossing and most trusted vendor, “Tony76”, jumped on board, offering fabulous discounts on his products and for the first time ever opened up shop to buyers outside North America.  Orders flooded in from users well accustomed to receiving high quality goods from this seller and from new users, excited to have the chance to buy from such an esteemed identity.

And Tony, sadly, had to ask all buyers to finalize early until he could sort out the situation with the scammer.  And of course they did.  He was the most highly respected and prolific seller on Silk Road; the buyers had had countless transactions that went smoothly; anyway, to not finalize might mean missing out on a bargain.

A week later the rumblings started.  The local orders should have arrived by now.  Tony wasn’t answering messages.  The bespoke site Tony had set up was gone.

Two weeks later the rumbles became a roar as it became clear that the most trusted vendor on Silk Road had absconded with what buyers estimated was over a hundred thousand dollars for a single weekend’s work.  One moderator of the forums placed it at a cool quarter of a million dollars.

There followed much angst and hand-wringing going on at Silk Road.  Some believed Tony76 was killed by Mexican drug lords.  Others assumed he had been busted. Many refused to believe that someone in their ‘Community’ would do such a thing. Then came the conspiracy theories: he is already selling under another name; Silk Road’s owners are in on it; it’s all part of a worldwide sting and nobody is safe; Tony76 is actually a Canadian bikie gang.

Perhaps the greatest surprise to take from this is the number of people who are shocked that a drug dealer would rip them off.  Silk Road’s advice:  never trade outside of escrow.

It’s a lesson that will stay with their customers for a long time.

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37 Responses

  1. I am a user of SR. And i Hate to say it, but knowing tor and the anonymity that comes with signing up to anything on it, if i was in the position to make 150,000$ buy ripping of a bunch of addicts, and by abusing trust, i would do it. Especialy and only if it was fool proof on anyone tracing me, not to mention knowing you can just create another profile to keep making profit, and then keep the drugs you were supposed to sell, would most deffinitly do it. Now thays a retirement plan! At the end of the day, DPR better start investing in software designers to forsee things like this :p

    1. But that’s only because you’re a traitor without integrity. I know the vast majority of people would do the same, and that’s what’s wrong with this world. No thought beyond oneself. Pathetic.

      1. It’s human nature. Anybody can come up with a system that would be perfect if humans stop being themselves and flawlessly assume their roles as intended. Communism would be perfect if humans didn’t behave like humans. The lunatic libertarian stuff is deluded in the precise same way.

  2. “…if i was in the position to make 150,000$ buy ripping of a bunch of addicts, and by abusing trust, i would do it”

    i wouldn’t. what would that tell me about me?

      1. Incorrect. It actually probably means he’s a much better person than the likes of you and Sam above. Not a scumbag thief, with a broken or absent moral compass, willing to justify whatever disgusting selfish acts by somehow convincing yourself that you’re a better person than those you steal from, or they somehow deserve it for being weak and stupid (and trusting, you cunt. Stupid isn’t necessarily a factor, if it’s being done out of established trust.)

        Or convincing yourself that you somehow deserve it more (you don’t– you deserve it far less.)

        It basically comes down to 0pie not being a completely morally bankrupt scumbag like you and sam.

        Whether you realize it or not, that level of larceny is a far worse crime than selling a few bags of drugs. Both in a legal, and a moral sense.

        In fact, people like you almost represent everything that’s wrong with this world. It’s because of people like you that the rest of us peaceful citizens, who mind our own business, have to lock our doors at night.

        If you can’t change, you should maybe consider killing yourself for the betterment of humanity.

        And before you imagine that I’m just some disgruntled SR user who’s all butthurt because I got ripped off, which I’m sure is the kind of thing a deluded mind like yours would go to as justification, I’m not. I’ve never used SR. Buying illegal drugs through the mail just really isn’t my thing. I’m just able to recognize scumbags, and scumbag logic when I see it.

        Congratulations, on being a Huge Piece of Shit.

  3. I hate to say it, but anytime an Internet drug dealer advertises a “sale”, that should activate your scam radar regardless of their reputation up to that point.

  4. The 5 Silk Road Commandments

    1. Loyalty to Silk Road above all else!
    2. Safeguard the name and reputation of Silk Road as if it were your own.
    3. Do not steal from your brothers and sisters.
    4. On an environment such as Silk Road, all one truly has is their word. When you give it, keep it.
    5. Make fuckload of money.

  5. Silk Road is not Disneyland, it’s a potentially dangerous place for those that don’t understand the risks. It’s a technically lawless region where all money you put on the table is at risk and where an unkind word to a vendor can get you blacklisted by all vendors. Follow the escrow rules and rip-offs like The Great 420 Scam won’t happen; if the seller requires FE, don’t buy from that seller. It’s easy; be polite, be aware, be safe, and you’ll be fine.

  6. Pingback: DarkWeb Dictionary
  7. Prohibition pays and don’t be naive and think law enforcement does not dip into that in one form or another. Grand juries are how Americans stopped alcohol prohibition and those legal mechanisms exist to stop modern prohibition as well. Know your jurors rights. The greatest scam of all time continues to be prohibition.

  8. 420greenstore So far a colossal rip off. Been waiting for three days and now being asked for an additional $100 for insurance b4 delivery. First parcal was sent to Mexico which they claimed was my mistake. My zip was the same on shipping form, credit cards used and western union receipt. Have been sitting bybthe door waiting and fielding calls full of excuses. Still no delivery. Everyone has been nice but highly incompetent.

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