Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
Someone posted a fake ad on Craigslist about me and I want to ID them. Is that realistic? CL wants a subpoena to get to give the account information. I am wondering if the information I will receive is worth the cost of a subpoena? My guess would be that CL would give information about the "person" who set up the account (name, email address, etc.) and the IP address. Then would I need to subpoena the IP address owner for those records? What if they were using free WiFI somewhere? Seems hopeless?
Hi, thanks for submitting your question today.
It is going to be quite a process to get a subpoena. Only a court with an active lawsuit can issue a subpoena. So you’d have to file a lawsuit against (claiming defamation of character) a John Doe defendant, then have the court issue you a subpoena to Craigslist. This probably would get you the identity with one caveat. Craigslist does not cost anything to use. Thus people can freely set up a fake email address and id and create a fake account. Your hope then would be that Craigslist keeps the IP address of account holders, then you would check the IP address in search engine, like WhatsMyIPAddress, to find the account holders ISP. Then you’d have to have a second subpoena issued to the ISP to locate the person’s (or the account holder’s) identity. Quite a bit of work if you ask me, and probably not worth pursuing unless you were genuinely financially harmed by the posting.
Thanks for your quick response. I just can't imagine anyone posting something fake would use their real information or do it from an identifiable IP address (like at home). If I did get an IP address from CL -traced it and then subpoena the owner of the IP - what if it was a wi fi - like Starbucks? Could they then trace it to an actual individual computer by some internal computer ID? I know there is something called a MAC address, but from what I read, it does't really help. This all really isn't worth my time and money if I can't trace it back to an actual person and from your response (and researching on the web) it doesn't seem realistic. Seems like a internet loop hole....
That is what I thought. Sigh. Thank you.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).