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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16870
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I was ripped off by sending money via western union for football

Customer Question

I was ripped off by sending money via western union for football tickets and never recieved the tickets. So it made me mad and I wanted to come up with a way of warning people how easy it is to be fooled on the internet. And I knew that just saying "dont send money via western union to people you dont know" would not work because that is written everywhere. So i came up with a plan. I looked online at the most popular way that people scam people online. And the number one way was people saying they were hackers and for a fee (sent to the "hacker" via western union) the "hacker" would send the person a huge money transfer through western union. SO i decided to use that as my tactic. Well when i got a few people to trust me, they sent me money, then once i got the money, i sent it right back saying that what i was really doing was showing them how easy it is to fool them and get them to send me money, and to never trust anyone on the web. Kind of teaching them a lesson, you know? A good deed, I guess. Well one of the people that sent me money, once she didnt get my "transfer I was going to send" right away contacted western union and so there may be an investigation. Once they investigate me and search my computer and see that I am not a real hacker and have no hacking device or anything, I was just trying to do a good deed and teach people a lesson, wouldnt I be good and the people that actually inquired me and actually sent me money to do an illegal action (that I really could not do) wouldnt they be in trouble?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
Hello Jacustomer,

Impersonating a hacker and threatening extortion is not the way to teach someone a lesson. No they wouldn't be in trouble for yielding to your blackmail. And you may get charged with a criminal offense. This isn't hacking. But it is fraud, and regardless of your motive, you did intend to deceive.

Now just because you can get arrested does not mean that you will be convicted, but, like anyone else who passes up standard legal remedies in order to use "self help" you can certainly be charged.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I am not confident you have heard the last of this.

Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16870
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Zoey_ JD and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So once I inform legal people of my intentions, and if they do in fact see that I am not a hacker, there is a possibility that this could be dropped? And how is it fraud if I never kept their money? I sent it right back.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

You were engaging in extortion. You sent the money back, but you used to computer to pretend to be something you were not for the purpose of deliberately deceiving people and making them fearful enough for their safety that they would send you money.

You don't win awards for that. If they call the people who got their money back, assuming they say "Got the money back. No harm no foul" Nothing may happen. But if they were seriously alarmed by the whole incident, you can expect to hear something from the authorities.

If you do, you should not discuss this without having first retained a lawyer who may want to be with you if you intend to give the police any information.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hmm. Yes I see what you mean. But in no way were they fearing for their safety. They inquired me. I just answered them. They were in no way, pressured I guess is the best way to put it into sending me money.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Of course they were pressured! They would not have sent money if they weren't alarmed and concerned. Just because you knew in advance how it was all going to come out, does not mean that they did.

It could blow over. It will depend on what these people tell western union who would then decide whether or not to turn the file over to the prosecutor's office.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If you dont mind me asking, how were they pressured? THEY found my email adress. THEY emailed me. THEY were already in the process of looking for hackers and stumbled upon me. I never inquired them. They asked me what I charge, I told them and they were happy to send me money because they were thinking that they were going to get a huge sum of money sent back to them.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Sorry. I missed that. I thought you contacted them instead and accused them of hacking and they paid you essentially to keep quiet. So you're right. You didn't pressure them.

But as to the bottom line here, you did use the computer to deceive people. And it is still going to come down to what these individuals tell Western Union. If they are disturbed about it, the file will get turned over to a prosecutor. If not, it will fade away.

If the former, you will need a lawyer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ok thank you. youve been great help!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
And also, now that you know that I never pressured or blackmailed them, Could they get in trouble for inquiring and paying a "hacker" to do an illegal action? They went through with attempting something illegal. I never did anything to threaten hacking western union. Just told them I could.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

They could, but they likely won't. As you placed the ad that attracted them, the state would probably be more interested in you. They would give them immunity or a very sweet deal to testify against you.

If you think about it, let me know what comes of this. With regard to the filing of the case, this can go either way. If it's filed, you have a decent chance of winning it. But it's vaguely analagous to the guy who gets busted for selling fake drugs. His intent was never to deal but he took money under false pretenses. You're in better shape because you sent it back. But that doesn't mean what you did was right.

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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD
Criminal Lawyer
16870 Satisfied Customers
Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.