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Basic Information

DarkMarket was an English-speaking internet cybercrime forum run undercover by the FBI in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The web site allowed buyers and sellers of stolen identities and credit card data to meet and conduct criminal enterprise in an entrepreneurial, peer-reviewed environment. It had 2,500 users at its peak, according to the FBI. The site was run by a seven-agent cybercrime unit based at the National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance in Pittsburgh, and targeted a criminal community based partly in Britain.

The FBI on October 17, 2008 announced that its two-year long undercover operation against users of the crime forum DarkMarket netted 56 arrests worldwide and prevented $70 million in economic losses, publicly acknowledging the sting for the first time.


Game and Story Use

  • Example of the lengths a Law Enforcement Agency will go to in an effort to capture criminals.
    • PCs could set up a similar sting in the modern day, or transpose it to a different setting.
      • PC could coordinate a meeting (or crystal-ball forum) of powerful undead and other intelligent monsters. The Dungeon Master's Conference, perhaps. Trying to handle all the Villains at once would probably be suicide, but PCs posing as villains could network and identify a number of individual monsters to bust later. Get the egotistical Liche talking about his famed death traps and custom spells, so that he's easier to battle later.
  • Or, in a campaign where the forces of darkness are better organized than the good guys, Dark Market (or it's campaign-specific) equivalent might be legitimately illicit. Villains of all stripes frequent the site, exchanging tips on how to be better at being bad.
    • Once the PCs take down a few of Minibosses, the organized villains might use Dark Market to coordinate their efforts at eliminating the Heroes.
    • In an only-slightly-darker-than-real-life world the fact that DarkMarket was being run by seven FBI cybercrime agents wouldn't necessarily make it a sting. Who better to commit a crime than the people who are meant to be preventing it?
  • Hilariously a similar sting might uncover an "Air America" style black operations programme by a friendly intelligence agency or round up a large number of police informants and unvercover officers or cross the hawse of one or more powerful individuals (such as a malfeasant Attorney General). Results might vary from embarassment to lost lives to PCs ruthlessly suppressed on suprious charges and fleeing for their lives from the former employers…
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