The internet has made life easier for millions of people, but not always for the betterment of society as a whole. Bad guys benefit from technology as well, and the web has been a boon for them in many cases. Here are just ten of the ways that drug dealers have abused the web:
- Buying – There are a whole host of websites where drugs can be purchased without a prescription. Highly addictive drugs such as steroids, uppers, downers and pain killers can be bought, despite the fact that they are illegal to buy and sell with a prescription.
- Trade – Such drug dealers will sell their product from countries where there is no control over these sales. They can work their illicit trade without fear of obstruction from local laws, and outside the jurisdiction of U.S. laws.
- Solicitation – Dealers create slick, effective websites to entice young people to buy drugs, who may not even be aware that prescription is required for legal purchase. The websites look safe and professional, but are operated illegally, and dangerously.
- Stealing – Some of these so-call pill mills don’t even provide the product that the consumer paid for. They will simply take the payment and not ship anything in return.
- SEO – Drug dealers will not only create professional looking sites from which to conduct their illicit business, they will even work the search engines for high rankings, as in the case of drugdealer.net.
- Quantity – According to a study by the Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, there are more than 2 million websites around the world where addictive and potentially lethal medications can be bought without a prescription.
- Teens – Largely due to ready availability online, it was determined by a University of Michigan survey that 12th graders were 12 times more likely to have taken Vicodin as they were to have taken heroin in the past year.
- Anonymity – Drug-dealing at websites like Silk Road have made it possible to peddle even LSD, marijuana, hash, ecstasy, and heroine. Billed as “an anonymous marketplace” whose URL can be accessed only via TOR, an anonymizing network download. Visitors can get in, score drugs, and get out, in complete anonymity.
- Chat – Chat rooms are another venue that small-time drug dealers will exploit online in order to sell their products. The lack of supervision, and the anonymity provided there make the use of most chat rooms an easy and effective means by which to connect with buyers.
- Encryption – Sophisticated drug dealers utilize highly advanced encryption technology to foil attempts by law enforcement agencies to intercept their transmissions. It can frequently take hours for computer experts to crack even a 30-second transmission.
Beyond just drugs, criminals of all kinds have exploited new technology for their own purposes. Be aware of what’s going on around you and don’t trust a website just because it looks good. For your safety, do not buy prescription medication online. You never know what you will get.