PDA have already released numerous reports on the fraud materials market on the Dark Web. This post aims to provide an insight into what the Dark Web is, and why it is important to fraud investigators.
What is the Dark Web?
A ‘Dark Web’ is a collection of sites which can’t be searched through Google or accessed through the normal internet.When people refer to the ‘Dark Web’ they are usually referring to TOR (The Onion Router), which is a popular ‘DarkWeb’. The TOR Network keeps its users completely anonymous, and as it has no search functionality like Google, a user must have the address of the site they wish to access.
You can find a more in-depth explanation of the Dark Web here: What is the dark web? The BBC’s Chris Fox explains what the dark web is and what it is used for.
Due to the anonymity that TOR gives its users, it has become synonymous with criminality and illegal material. The Dark Web contains marketplaces for illegal goods which function much like Amazon and Ebay with seller and product reviews, dispute processes and more. These markets trade in bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies, and operate worldwide.
What fraud-related items are available on the Dark Web?
After drugs, the most sold items on the dark web are fraud related. As an example, in February 2021, there were roughly 13,300 fraud-related adverts across the most popular Dark Web markets with many more on smaller markets.These fall into a number of categories and main ones include:
- Stolen personal Information – such as PPI, credit card details and medical histories.
- Identity documents – stolen, counterfeit and forged documents such as passports and driving licenses. This also includes ‘templates’ which can be used by fraudsters to create their own fraudulent documents for utility/major companies.
- Account access – such as access to gambling accounts, bank accounts or entertainment accounts.
There are many other types of fraud items for sale, ranging from fraud tutorials to specialised paper for forging physical documents.
How can conducting investigations on the Dark Web help your business?
Most major companies will have customer data, templates and/or accounts being sold by criminals on the dark web. Finding these products can help protect your customers and partners from fraud, and give you a greater understanding of how your company is being targeted by fraudsters.
Furthermore, there are many ‘fraud tutorials’ for sale on the Dark Web. These are tutorials that have been created by fraudsters to let others know how to defeat your KYC, verification and counter-fraud methods. Understanding their methodologies can obviously be of massive benefit to your counter-fraud operations.
If you would like to learn how to investigate fraud on the Dark Web, PDA provides an online course which teaches you how to safely and securely investigate fraud on the Dark Web.
Book now here: Dark Web online training