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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 102146
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Being blackmailed for replying to a personal ad in Craigslist

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Hi, I replied to an ad on Craigslist (personal ad) which didn't have age listed. Then I asked for a number to talk and confirm. That individual sent me a number and asked me to unblock and call, but I told that I cannot do that and called the individual with my blocked number. He then threatened me that I contacted a minor and that he will press charges against me. He first said I was emailing his son who was a 15 yr old and then he told me that I have 2 options, either to go to court with him or settle him outside of court. He also asked about if I have a girl friend and then he threatened me about revealing this incident to her. There was no mentioning of age in the ad or any of the email conversations. I got pretty confused and hung up. He also said he is working for some law firm close to my place. Should I be concerned about this?

Hello friend,

Please note:

(1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and,

(2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation. Likely not - this sounds like a scam. What some individuals are doing is soliciting others to call them on Craigslist and via personal ads and then attempt to scare them into blackmail about "contacting minors" or something to that effect. Of course you would not be guilty. However, some people get scared enough to pay anyhow. See here. (While the news story does not specifically cover your nuanced scam per se, it is the same thing overall). This is why the scammer was so desperate to see what number you were calling from - so as to be able to call you back at odd hours to scare you. With your number blocked, they had no idea who you really were. I would ignore this matter and just in case, change your email if they had it (or else they may try contacting you via email).

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I deleted that email account and that is completely inactive now. As I said, that individual first told that I emailed his son who was a minor and then he was asking where I stay and about my family which I didn't give any specifics. I told him that I did nothing wrong as I just replied to an ad which doesn't say anything about age. He replied that my email would be more than enough for him to get me to court. There was may be 3 email conversations back and forth, first was the response. Next was I asked for a number and he replied to call with unblocked number which I didn't accept in the next email and called him. Just wanted to give you a clear picture to see that I don't have to really worry about him in future. The email id he has does not have my real name and other details.

Right... they began to dig to get as much information as possible about you. Most scammers are more subtle. I guess this one was new to their "trade" or perhaps more desperate. Yes, I do not see you having any real issues. After all, all he has is an inactive email and no telephone number and maybe a name (if you put your full name on the email), but just with a name there is really nothing that can be done. They need your contact information in an attempt to scare you. I would not worry.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks so much again. This helped me a lot and I really appreciate this.

You are very welcome and no worries. Good luck.

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