FAKE gold bars claimed to be from Perth Mint, a WA Police identification card and counterfeit Bankwest credit cards and utility bills are all openly for sale on the “dark web”.
After Federal agencies were sent into a spin this week over revelations Medicare details could be bought on the internet’s underbelly, a quick search of some of the dark web’s favourite marketplaces found some local product.
They included fake Perth Mint gold bars bearing a striking resemblance to the real thing for the equivalent of $50. The seller, said to be based in the Netherlands, boasts how buyers could “multiply your money amazingly with this system”.
“Normal people buy gold to hold it, never open the package and scratch it to verify. These are by far the best bars available and are almost indistinguishable from the real thing,” the advertisement read.
“This bar looks 100% like the original, and is without the crimping on the edges. They will pass the X-ray test but not the scratch test. I will leave it to your imagination the possibilities with these.”
A Perth Mint spokesman said the issue was “a known industry problem for many mints throughout the world”.
“The Perth Mint is continually looking for ways to mitigate the issue and stay ahead of technological advancements in counterfeit production,” they said.
“Generally, counterfeit goods are produced cheaply to be sold cheaply. Should a buyer come across what might appear to be Australian bullion being offered at below market value, they should treat this with extreme caution.
“The Perth Mint emphasises that this is a situation of buyer beware.”
Amid reams of advertisements for any drug — illicit and prescription — imaginable, were also offers of forgeries of utility bills and bank statements, including those from Bankwest, which could potentially be used to steal identities. Fake credit cards were also offered.
And until one of the dark web’s most popular marketplaces mysteriously shut down on Thursday, another vendor was also touting a “Western Australia Police ID wallet PVC badge”, including “all the security features of the original”.
Those ads however, would appear to be out of date, as the alleged dark web seller using the pseudonym “piratedeadpool”, is in fact Victoria former police officer James Goris — and is currently awaiting trial on allegations of fraudulently creating police identification.
An investigation by Victoria Police’s e-crime squad late last year allegedly lured Mr Goris into selling officers both Victoria Police and Australian Federal Police identification cards, badge wallets and badges for $4800, paid in the online currency bitcoin.
Bitcoin remains the the currency of choice for apparently prolific drug sellers, including those based in Australia.
One of those, openly selling ice, heroin, MDMA and cocaine, insisted on the “super stealth” mode of delivery for buyers in WA. He was offering $25 postage for a maximum of “100 pills, three ounces of powders and one ounce of weed/bud.”
Vendors were then encouraged to leave positive feedback.