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The Dark Web Wants Your Fridge


Warning, the dark web has infiltrated used refrigerators. First, the back story. Before my tenant moved, he took the fridge, tipped it on the patio, and jammed it into his truck. When I went to the property to check it, I saw a tupperware of salad mix on the threshold. A frozen chicken rolled in the garden. Meat sauce spilled from plastic bag. And my refrigerator was gone.


The copper line to the ice maker had been spliced, and water gushed from the severed pipe, ruining the hardwood floors. I watched water from the broken pipe in the wall spill through the kitchen, run down the living room, and cascade down the stairs and finally out the sliding glass doors, lending an earthy smell to the mix of refrigerator contents that littered the grounds.


A few days later, I contacted a Facebook Marketplace seller about a refrigerator she had for sale.It was a beauty: French doors on top with luxurious freezer drawers on the bottom. I explained by messenger that I wanted to purchase it but couldn’t pick it up til Monday. The seller’s profile showed her to be grandmotherly with similarly-aged friends, all of whom had adorable grandchildren and pets in funny poses. “Could you leave a small deposit?” the seller asked. It seemed reasonable. I sent one dollar via PayPal to make sure she had sent me the correct email address. I didn’t want to risk sending $200 to the wrong person.



It got weird fast, starting with the seller’s Chinese email address and the peculiar wording of her responses. Pretty soon, rather than sending her any more money, I told her I’d bring cash when I picked her refrigerator up, and if it was sold by then, she’d have my blessing.


Grandma wrote back a nasty response using words that would have made my own grandmother blush. Then I saw the same refrigerator, with the same sales pitch, available all over Facebook Marketplace. Friends, be warned. The dark web is coming to a used appliance near you.

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