General Question

College_girl's avatar

Is this considered Fraud and illegal?

Asked by College_girl (881 points ) December 15th, 2011

So if someone posts an ad on craigslist as a joke, and no one was being hurt or scammed, listing someone’s picture, name, and email, is that considered fraud and will the person go to jail? or be sued or whatever?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

25 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

There is not enough information. But in general, they maybe prosecuted.

So yes.

wundayatta's avatar

If it’s libelous, it could be prosecuted, potentially.

john65pennington's avatar

The real problem here is who prosecutes. The internet goes worldwide, this is a real problem in a case like yours.

College_girl's avatar

it isnt libelous if it didnt hurt them though right? it didnt contain anything hurtful or mean

Eureka's avatar

Posting someones real picture, name, and e-mail and pretending it is you is identify theft, in the stricted intrepretation of that crime. And this could be considered fraud.

Sounds like you or someone you know has already done this. Rather childish, and “hurtful or mean” might mean something completely different to a judge than it does to you.

Hope this doesn’t blow up in your face – but it very well could

Moegitto's avatar

That is almost the definition of Fraud. Many jokes cost people time and money. This wouldn’t be the first time someone took a joke and ran it into the ground, emotionally damaging the intended. Remember the Star Wars Kid? His parents sued the kneecaps off of the people that uploaded that video.

College_girl's avatar

ok so what would be the punishment of this “crime” is it a felony or misdemeanor also taking in mind it would be a first time offence

JilltheTooth's avatar

Oh, dear, if you posted someone else’s information, and that person could then be traced and found, you could be putting them in harm’s way, and that could cause you all sorts of grief. Civil, definitely, criminal possibly.
If ultimately the person is seriously harmed due to your actions, “first time offense” won’t mean anything.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It could be consider “wire fraud” and a felony, depending on item or items and info posted.

College_girl's avatar

so you could go to jail for this?

Seaofclouds's avatar

Possibly. It would depend on the prosecutor and judge in the case (if it went that far).

College_girl's avatar

thank you for all your help

JilltheTooth's avatar

If you’ve already done this, take it down. If you haven’t, don’t.

College_girl's avatar

this person has already done it and the other person has already found out

Bellatrix's avatar

As to nobody getting hurt, only the person on the receiving end can say whether they were hurt or not. Having your friends put up a fake craigslist ad could be very hurtful for some people (I wouldn’t be very happy if my friends did that). Also, by the sound of it the person doing it could get hurt. I hope this works out okay for all involved.

College_girl's avatar

Also what if the person didnt even get the other persons last name right? like they were close but it was still wrong. technically the person wouldnt be talking about the other person then right?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@College_girl It doesn’t necessarily matter that they didn’t get the name exactly right. If the person it was about was able to figure it out, others may have been able to do so as well. It may end up getting the person that did it into a good bit of trouble. It may also depend on what the person’s intent was upon doing such a thing. They really won’t know until it they get charged (if they get charged).

LuckyGuy's avatar

The school might consider it bullying. If they have a no tolerance stance (most do) someone might be asked to vacate the premises.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Buttonstc's avatar

Unfortunately, a simple Google search will yield the results of lots of Craigslist pranks which have been put up by dimwitted students (and others) which have caused a great deal of harm to the victim.

As to whether this was the intention at the time it was done matters little. Stupidity is not a free pass from consequences in real life. This applies to both civil and criminal consequences.

There aren’t enough details given on this particular case but there is potential for a really undesirable outcome for the perpetrator as well as the victim. And that’s putting it mildly indeed.

zenvelo's avatar

You don’t say what the ad was for, just that personal information was included. With so little info, it doesn’t sound like a crime. It doesn’t sound any more harmful than posting a picture on Facebook with a person in the picture tagged.

College_girl's avatar

it was for a personal ad

Buttonstc's avatar

Oh let me guess. Someone got the brilliant idea to put another girl’s phone number in a personal ad offering escort services (or something similar) just for kicks.

And the victim’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Would that be in the ballpark of what this “personal ad” was all about?

My, how original ~~

Moegitto's avatar

I’ve been following this topic for about a day now. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’ve summed this situation up to two categories. Either you already did it, or you and your friends are pretty intent on doing it. Almost everyone replied with a response stating that this was at least a minor illegal matter. As Buttonstc said, if you do a google search and even a wikipedia search, you will see many examples of what happens when people use this tactic as a prank. Making a personal ad “claiming” to be someone your not is illegal by itself. Then add to the fact that doing this form of “harmless fun” falls under the cyber bully rules. I know all schools in America have some form of rule against this. No matter what the intent is, if it is illegal, it is illegal. That’s why there’s all those sub-convictions like involuntary manslaughter. It wasn’t the intent, but someone still died because of your actions. Same here, you make this ad as a harmless joke, someone sees it and takes it out of context, rumors start, and now the victim doesn’t find it funny anymore and tells someone. Then the snowball falls down the hill.

Here’s something for you to look at, just in case no one else drives the point home.

http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-penalty-for-impersonating-someone-online

glut's avatar

For legal advice always talk to a lawyer.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther