Criminals will find everything their hearts desire in the Darkweb or Darknet: countless sorts of drugs but also a human lung has already been traded on the portals that can only be accessed via special browsers. What do you think a forged German passport costs on the “black market”?
In September this year, the English portal Comparitech carried out an investigation into passport documents offered in the Darkweb – and found an almost endless selection of forgeries as well as extremely different prices for the stolen or forged passports.
— Comparitech (@Comparitech) 5. Oktober 2018
A total of 48 individual listings from 20 countries were checked during the test phase.
Passports for sale: Are fake Passports cheap or expensive?
First of all, a distinction had to be made between the different types of forgeries.
The cheapest option: a self-editable passport template to carry out the forgery yourself. These templates are usually available for small money and make up the majority of the documents offered.
Also very frequent are digital scans of real passports: These documents are mostly sold in larger quantities (10-packs and upwards) and are also not very expensive with about 10 dollars (8.70 euros).
If you want to buy a physical passport, you have to dig deeper into your bitcoin wallet. Comparitech found out, that a forged passport would cost about 1000 US dollars (870 euros). Such forged passes were discovered during the investigation for a “handful of European countries”.
In addition, some real passport documents are apparently sold by real people on darknet marketplaces. Whether these were stolen or how they got listed in the stores, is not known. For such a document declared to be genuine, an investment of 12,000 US dollars (10,400 euros) was needed to complete the purchase, making deepweb vendors rich.
It is not hard to see, that other, related items are up for sale – for example a selfie photo of the actual owner of the passport or even a drivers license. If bought for verification purposes, it is advantageous to have multiple identity documents, since some websites demand it. If a digital scan is purchased together with one of the additional documents, this is also reflected in the price.
Which passports are the most expensive? Which are the cheapest?
Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be a uniform pricing scheme. It would have been obvious if the passports that were judged to be “most powerful” were also the most expensive.
The most frequently listed digital passport documents came from Great Britain and Australia – the passports from “Down Under” were also the most expensive clocking in at 32 US dollars (around 28 euros) on average.
Only two variants were found for a German passport document: either 8.30 (7.20 euros) or 12.40 US dollars (11 euros) were due for (digital) copies. This puts Germany in the lower midfield of in terms of prices.
All physical passport documents found during the investigation were for European countries. The average price for one of the eight documents discovered was 13 US dollars (11 euros).
Physical passports: $10,000 for an authentic counterfeit
Surprisingly, the most inexpensive physical passport found by a relatively clear margin is the German passport. A supposedly authentic German passport document can be purchased for 8000 US dollars (7000 euros). For comparison: The most expensive passport from Great Britain costs 17000 dollars (14,500 euros) – more than double the price.
The documents already declared as forgeries cost about one tenth of the real documents – on average about 1500 US dollars (1300 euros). But there were stark differences: For an Italian copy, for example, only a little over 1000 dollars (870 euros) were due – for a Danish copy, however, over 2600 dollars (2,200 euros).
What is the Conclusion?
The sale of forged documents and stolen passports is booming on the darknet. There are many different reasons why one might want to consider switching up their identity: From unobstructed Travel, to buying alcohol as a minor.
The price you have to pay varies greatly depending on the intended use. Scanned Ids are cheaper, since they are only used to create fraudulent accounts on Websites.
But if you want to travel freely, you might need to shell out some serious money. In any case, the sale of fake ids is booming. You don‘t even have to install tor and visit some obscure, hidden onion websites, as there are services available on the www also.