Identify Unknown Internet Fraudsters With John Doe Lawsuits

If you do not know the true identity of the person who defrauded you, you may be able to file a civil suit in your county using a John Doe for the defendant's name.  You would need to provide all the e-mails, letters, wire transfers, etc. that show you do not know the identity or location of the defendant but that you have a clear basis for your civil claims.  Your purpose is not to file for a monetary judgment initially but to obtain a subpoena for the ISP and e-mail providers of the unknown fraudster in order to obtain the person's name and address so that you can file a civil suit. 

It is also possible to subpoena eBay and PayPal for information they have on the person's true identity if the fraudster used their services in the fraudulent transaction. This is the legal process used to obtain the identities of the unknown defendants in the music download trials and by large corporations such as Microsoft to sue Web site owners for spam.  These lawsuits were filed in Federal District Court and it is probable that your small clams court and county courts will tell you to go to Federal District Court to file your case.     

Below are links to information on John Doe suits:



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