New Dark Web Hitman Site Scams You Even Before Signing Up

Wanna look for a hitman? Just give us 50 bucks please.

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Jul 7 2016, 5:30pm

Image: DreamBig/Shutterstock

Sites offering hitman services have periodically sprung up on the dark web, that part of the internet that's only reachable using the anonymizing tool Tor.

It gives the (mostly wrong) impression that the dark web truly is a lawless, dangerous, place. But to this day, there's no evidence that any of these sites are anything more than attempts to defraud people. The most famous hitman site out there, known as Besa Mafia, turned out to be an elaborate, and profitable, scam.

Despite that, someone has just created a new hitman site with a clever twist: it tries to scam people even before they can sign up, forcing would-be customers who are not invited to the site to pay just to get in.

"For those who haven't any contact, you can apply for a noobie invitation key, charged $50," the site, called Ghosting-Place, reads. "This accounts are limited to hitman listings for 72h, without option to get in touch with any of our agents."

So if you don't have an invitation from a "trusted contractor," new members, or "noobies," can send the money to a bitcoin wallet. Interestingly, the wallet's address appears to be different for each person, making it harder to figure out if the site has convinced anyone to pay yet.

The site appears to be brand new. A Reddit user going by the name gphmsearch2 publicized the site's URL in a message on r/deepweeb, looking for hitman in Australia and China. The same user also promoted the site on the popular r/onions on Thursday. (I messaged gphmsearch2 but haven't gotten any answer yet.)

The site's business model is allegedly to take 5 percent of any hitman commission, though it gives killers liberty to set their own rates. There's a form for hitman to apply to the site, and a small chart purportedly shows the number of hits or "contracts," as the site puts it, that have been carried out in the last six months.

While this all sounds a bit creepy and disturbing, chances are this site isn't real.

"I always assume a scam with these sites but I don't doubt there are people who legitimately may think they can start a hitman market," Nik Cubrilovic, a security researcher who studies darknet markets, told me. "That has been proven right over time: most hitman markets have been [law enforcement] entrapments or scams."

For Cubrilovic, moreover, the main problem is that unlike drug marketplaces, it doesn't make much sense for a hitman market to be online or on the dark web.

"Most hitman markets have been [law enforcement] entrapments or scams."

"Drugs scale better, you can send them anywhere in the world, you can more easily build reputation, etc. Hitmen services don't do any of those," Cubrilovic said in an online chat. "Being on the darkweb [for a hitman site] doesn't solve any problem."

It remains to be seen whether Ghosting-Place will successfully convince anyone to blindly send money just for the chance to maybe find a hitman. But at this point, according to experts, the chances of a successful scam are low.

"With no reputation and upfront requirements like that," dark web independent researcher Gwern Branwen told me, "how do they expect to scam anyone?"

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