Be careful what you post on craigslist

…Or the cops can show up to your house.

This happened to me over a year ago, it is still funny to discuss and bring up, however. Hopefully this lesson is learned beyond just me.

I had a 2 year stint where I fixed smartphones and many of my customers are University students. The University has Wifi everywhere, I know as I was a student, they however didn’t have a good guest policy. The guest policy was along the lines of lines of sign up for 7 days and you would have to wait a month or so before you could log back on with the device you had.
My data plan is limited and occasionally I did like to study around campus as I could drive all over with my scooter, park, and pick an open classroom and just hang out and study whatever it was I felt like with fast University access.

Initially I made a on Craigslist asking a University student an exchange for their internet account I would give them money. While that does sound bad initially, I had no malicious intent.

A few weeks later I did a phone repair for a girl, it was the 2nd time I had fixed her phone and she now knew me, I asked her at the end of the repair that I would discount $15 if she gave me her Wifi access, she happily complied. Over the course of the next few weeks I used her the credentials but only sparingly and like I had promised her, only for studying.

2 months go by…

I got a knock at the door at 8am, this was expected as I had someone I chose to meet with to fix their phone. About 15 minutes into the repair I got another knock at the door, this time it was the police. A police detective and a sheriff asked me some questions (I don’t really remember), I didn’t have my guard up because I had no idea what I could have done to get them to show up. After some questions I asked them straight up “Why are you here?”

Turns out someone had hacked some Iowa State University servers and stole some credentials, even social security numbers, of employees that worked there. What triggered the investigation were some fraudulent tax returns that had been filed giving them reason to investigate, that investigation resulted in generating me as a lead.
I’m not well aware of the ins and outs of a detective, they had fully investigated many aspects of me before showing up and this clued them on how it possibly could have been me. It was all triggered by that Craigslist post, that is what caused it. Then the fact that they looked over all of my information and saw that I might be someone more likely to file a fraudulent tax return (from financial reasons and I’m speculating) they further investigated.

I could have not said anything, while I’ll agree that you should keep quiet to not incriminate yourself, I generally think that most cops are not out for blood. When I opened the door they saw I was dealing with a customer firsthand and that I legitimately fixed phones. The cop realized after talking to me for a few minutes that this was a bad lead. I fully cooperated and told him I’d give him information on the girl that gave me her access ID.

Most of the people that experience problems with police generally deserve it, act politely and dress nice and you should get good treatment. I’ve had cops get high on power around me but if you remain calm with anyone in a situation, they quickly quiet down, try it sometime (: The angrier someone gets, calm down more and more and that person will feel very awkward if they remain acting the way they do, or just look like a fool to everyone around them.

The overall lesson, several, but most importantly think first before posting anything to Craigslist.

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