Avior Market, a dark web marketplace that facilitates the sale of illicit goods, is alleged to be pulling an exit scam under the veil of a management takeover scheme.
The market’s operator made a post on the Dread Forum to inform users about the new development, which was met with rather mixed reactions.
In a post on Dread, a user warns that Avior Market is planning to exit scam, and cautioned people against sending their funds to the site.
Figure 1: A user posts a warning that Avior Market plans to exit scam its members.
In the same thread, the market’s operator popularly known as u/Archer responded by acknowledging that he had operated the site for 8 months but resolved to formally sell the platform to one of his trusted friends. However, it turns out that the new admin has been locking all vendors out and deleted a majority of accounts on Avior.
The former admin admits that the new management has also decided to lock his main account. This event, according to him, was unfortunate considering that he expected the site to continue operating with its more than 30,000 users.
Importantly, the former operator warned users against falling into a possible scam where they would lose their funds. He cautioned people against depositing funds or using the platform since the new admin seems to be trying to cash out as much as possible before disappearing with people’s crypto.
Otherwise, he admitted that Avior Market’s performance has fallen recently, an aspect that may have influenced the new admin to plan a possible exit scam.
The former admin of the Avior Market issued an apology about the misdeeds of the platform that led into users losing their funds. In response, a majority of users commented by branding the admin as an exit scammer who orchestrated a plot to disappear with oblivious users’ cryptocurrency.
On user, who uses the account name crackheaddom101, voiced their opinion in believing that the former market operator was just using the excuse of new management to hide his ulterior motive to scam users.
Part of the member’s message read that the admin was probably laying a foundation to cunningly push people away from the market – in order to “run away” with user coins. The user said that they would not be surprised to see the former operator opening another site to scam more people.
User waltdisney666 echoed the prevalence of exit scams on the dark web. However, they seemed to adopt a neutral position as they were not sure about the genuineness of the former admin’s message of caution and apology.
Otherwise, the user maintained that it was a bad idea for the site operator to sell the market to a different player, but rather discard the platform in case it failed to meet its obligations and expectations.
Dread Admin u/Paris Confirms Exit Scam
In a post that came about a day later, one of the chief dread admins u/Paris confirmed what u/archer said and commented that market admins should be careful about the people they trust to take over markets.
This adds credibility to Archers story, but a majority of users still doubted the alleged sale and instead that it was an exit scam by the original owner. You can read comments here
The Dark Web’s History of Exit Scams
As is often with marketplaces like Avior Market – dark web platforms where buyers and vendors meet to trade in illegal stuff – customers deposit funds into escrow, then sellers can make withdrawals after a specified time to complete a transaction.
In cases where people have lost money to exit scams, these events involved the emptying of such escrow accounts an aspect that saw people losing up to $30 million worth of crypto in the Wall Street Market exit scam.
The Wall Street Market exit scam was a unique example of its kind. As if taking off with user funds was not enough, some users of the platform reported that the site’s customer support stuff had tried blackmailing them by threatening to release their sensitive info with authorities unless payment in Bitcoin was made.
To conclude – as much as greed may motivate darknet exit scams, it is arguable that some of these sites are just making a run from possible police seizures.