*out dated* Guide to the Silk Road Part #6 – Security and Other Considerations
Here are some tips for buying safely on the Silk Road:
– Always use the escrow system. Yeah I know you just heard me talk on about that. Just a reminder...never finalize early! There is usually someone else selling what you are looking for. This is the black market. While there are many great Silk Road vendors who are honest business people. there are also a lot of low-life scammers and criminals that would love to get your money.
– Check out the seller before making a large purchase. All vendors have a rating and reviews left by others. Read them! Consider the amount of reviews. A 99% positive rating with 8 transactions is not as impressive as a 97% rating over 300 transactions. Good vendors will have a review thread linked in their profile. You can also do a search for their username in the forums. You can also make a forum post asking about a certain vendor.
Never Sign for a Package – NEVER. A Silk Road vendor should never send you a package that you need to sign for. What happens if the post office discovers drugs in your package? First off this doesn’t happen that often. The USPS must get a warrant to look inside of a package so it has to look suspicious or not vacuum sealed properly or something to draw attention to it. But, if it does happen and they get a warrant, what happens? If it’s a large amount, the police may very well set up a “controlled delivery”. A policeman will pose as a mailman and deliver your package and ask for your signature. That is all they need to arrest you. So. Never sign for a package.
Encrypt Your Name and Address. OK the odds of it being intercepted are very, very small. Still, encrypting it will take you 5-10 minutes the first time (if you follow my directions here). It will take you less than a minute once you’ve done it a couple of times. Well worth it.
Don’t be Paranoid: I sell marijuana via mail-order for a living so I have a lot of experience in this. It is very, very unlikely that you will be confronted by a policeman for ordering a small amount of marijuana in the unlikely event that your package is intercepted. For a large amount of pot or for narcotics you are much more likely to get targeted if your package is intercepted. But what generally happens is your packages goes “lost in the mail” or you will get a letter saying something was wrong with your package and you need to come in and sign for it. If that happens just forget it and take the loss. From what I can tell 99% of packages go through fine (I have close to a 100% delivery rate with my business). Some of the 1% get lost and only a small minority of those get a “controlled delivery”. So yeah you are pretty safe!
Extra Security Precaution: If you are still feeling nervous about receiving a package here is what you do. When you get your package don’t open it. Keep it on your table for a day. In the unlikely event that there is a knock on the door, you can reasonably say that you had no idea what was in the package. I mean really, anyone could send anyone else anything. You can’t be held responsible if someone mails you something. It is only after you receive it that it becomes a crime. This is called “plausible deniability”. They must be able to prove that you ordered the package. The next day if no one in a blue uniform has come knocking on your door you can open it.
Watch out for Phishing Sites: Again this is the black market so expect lots of scammers. The one and only URL to silk road is http://silkroad6ownowfk.onion, Other look-a-like URL’s circulate on the internet. You login on one of these look a like sites and the scammers have your Silk Road password and access to any funds you have on there.
Hedged vs Unhedged: Vendors on SR have the option of hedging their pricing. If they hedge then their cost in bitcoins will rise and fall with the value of bitcoin. This does not matter to sellers. However if you ever should need to get a refund and bitcoin price has changed you will only get the bitcoins back which will be worth more or less in value then when you made your purchase.
Will My Package Smell?: Almost every vendor knows to at least double vacuum seal packages..especially stinky stuff like weed. Check their vendor profile before ordering to find their shipping practices. Again, it’s a good practice to look closely at a vendors rating (and how many they have).
Get Advice from Knowledgable Silk Roaders in their Forum. The forum address is http://silkroad5v7dywlc.onion. If you plan on becoming a Silk Road “regular” it would be well worth your time to read up on the forums. You can also ask questions and get answers. It is mostly a friendly community (with assorted jerks like any forum).