Not everyone who commits a crime is a hardened criminal. Yet even the most armature delinquents among us may be lucky enough to never get caught.
Here, people share the most illegal thing they’ve done and actually gotten away with it.
I was 15 at the time and a school friend told me about DDOSing, how you could press a button and take down a persons internet connection. I was fascinated but also unapologetically curious.
Basically, I found DOS/DDOSing is like asking 1000 people to get on one bus – but for websites – it just sends tons of packets of data until it crashes.
I tried doing this from my home connection but it barely affected others.
So, I went on a website and basically learnt a ton about how to do it, but I couldn’t code so I scabbed as much free source code as possible. It was code for a website that you put shells in (ammunition to take down connections). In similar fashion, I scraped the web using various tools to find shells – you basically recruit the power from other servers. I collected over 700 of these.
However, I needed to host this thing and it needed to be offshore for legal reasons, so I found this amazing site that let me host it for free somewhere in Europe.
My experience was only in designing stuff, so I designed an entire brand identity and called this site turbotea. Basically, super strong tea. Logo, everything.
I posted my creation on the forum as 100% free to use. Within a few hours, I have over 100 members signed up. I asked if people could submit their own shells, too. More power. Within a day I had a few hundred users and this thing was catching on. I then put a plea out for any people with coding skills to help.
I talked to someone named Mike over Skype and he helped make the web design look prettier. We decided to make a premium account type which basically meant you had priority of the network and more DDOS time. $5 each. By this time, I had over 1000 users and my host company kept frantically emailing me asking what exactly we were doing.
I told them we made a stock photography website and advertised it, hence so many visitors. I’m amazed they couldn’t actually see the site!
Anyway, with this premium account we could have literally made thousands over a few days. However, at a mere $40 USD in we realised this had gone too far.
I read the forum and people had taken down their friends Xbox connections, targeted strangers who annoyed them during games. That was almost ok. However, then I saw people were using it to take down their school network. The final straw was somebody had taken down their local library network. I was disgusted.
I removed the site, which now had a few thousand members, and Mike and I agreed to not start it again. I put out a message to say it was no longer ethical to keep the site going and people were sad, but what was initially a small curiousity had become something extremely illegal and very unethical.
The next week I went back to school as if nothing happened and few people have heard this story since.
Sadly, this can never go on my CV.
I think the statute of limitations has run out on this one. Just in case, names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Some high school friends and I were “booze cruising” our rural roads one night. I was driving and not drinking. This was in the early 1980s, before MADD and the big push to remove alcohol imbibing from vehicles.
We were stopped for a potty break when my friend Mary decides she has to have a tractor shaped mailbox she spotted up the road. Her boyfriend Dave kicks it off the post it was attached to and puts it into the trunk of my car.
The drunken duo were happily making out in the back seat when I spot red and blue lights flashing in the rear view mirror. Damn!
I pull over. The people in the back were jamming their open beer cans into the crease between the seats when the officer walks up and says, “That is really going to smell horrible tomorrow kids. You probably don’t want to do that.” He was a really nice guy.
He has me get into his police car, runs my plates etc. We had a conversation about the car I owned. It was an Olds’ 98 Regency, a big luxury car. Strange car for a high school girl. “It had a couple hundred thousand miles.” I told him, “That is how I could afford to buy it. My dad put a new engine in it for me.” Anyway…
The officer has us take all the beer from inside the car and empty it onto the road. Then he says, “I’d like to see what’s in the trunk.”
Umm…yeah, what’s in the trunk is a tractor load of trouble that I do NOT want this nice man to see.
I asked him, “Do I have to open my trunk?” He replies, “No, but I can get a search warrant and then you would be forced to open the trunk.”
I said, “I’m sorry, but I’m not going to open the trunk unless you get the search warrant.” He was very surprised I was not cooperating, we had been getting along so well. He tried to talk me into opening it, but I held my ground.
Another officer showed up, they made me sit in the police car while they talked privately.
I was heartened when I heard other officers on the car’s two way radio wondering where my nice officer was staying. They were waiting for him to join them for a late supper.
They eventually let us go after writing us up for underage possession of alcohol.
I made my fourteen year old brother go with me to return the mailbox the next day. As he took it from the trunk we realized that it contained mail. We had committed a federal offence by interfering with the United States Mail!
(My brother still gives me crap for making him an accessory after the fact to a federal offence.)
We paid our underage drinking fines and we all learned a valuable lesson: “Don’t open your trunk for the police unless they have a search warrant!”
Oh, and don’t steal, don’t drink when you are underage, don’t commit federal mail crimes and dried beer does make cloth car seats smell nasty.
I hiked and stayed overnight in nature.
Many will say Wait what?
Yes thats true. The most illegal thing i ever did was to hike and enjoy the beauty and purity of nature. In Portugal. Where is actually forbidden.
Lucky scandinavians and others who have the Freedom to roam in their laws have the right to enjoy nature as they want as long as they respect nature. Basic, human good sense. If some of them see my answer here they would say Hiking in nature? Isnt that what everybody does?
No. Not in Portugal.
And it is what I love the most. It is painful. Something that northern European people can fully enjoy and love, for Portuguese mountain-lovers its a crime. Unless they are wealthy they can travel further. For me and my friends who love to hike in nature is a stab in our hearts that added sorrow and revolt to our already depressing lives. You can hike in the day, but camping in nature is forbidden. No tents on the green valleys or slopes, no pristine contemplation on the high landscapes, enjoying the silence of beautiful horizons, unless you sneak from the guards.
An obsolete law only to push people into spending money on hotels and camps and more gas and use the car instead of public transportation, which leaves many of the outdoors activities which need travelling, only to those who can afford. We the poor can barely dream of a trip in the mountains. An obsolete prohibitive stupid law in a country where it is allowed to grow eucalyptus for easy profit, everywhere, which is an non-native, invasive species which destroy the eco-system. An obsolete and prohibitive law in a country where the regulations of an natural area change easily if you are rich and wanting to build a mansion on a protected area, you can. For me this law is an offense, a violent attack to my human dignity.
If I camp in Norway, Sweden, etc, I am a hiker, a mountaineer, a human enjoying nature. In Portugal, my country, I am a criminal.
I did and I would do it again because I am responsible for what I do in nature and if a Scandinavian can enjoy the wilderness, am I less human than he/she? Am I inferior just because I was born in the wrong country for my true inside nature? This is it, and I don’t want the horrible law, and I simply dont accept that law. I cant stand it and damaged seriously my life and my friends. So I am even glad that I disrespected that crap law and I would do it again. I was never caught, but if i would it would break my heart. It would be so interesting to tell my Nordic friends Hi I was in the mountain Nordic friend Me too, and i had a great time, Me Me too, and I was arrested and I had to pay 200 euros.
For those like me and my Portuguese friend who is depressed and loves hiking in the wilderness, and we have low budgets, is frustrating and revolting.
I am a human in need of returning to nature, struggling against inhuman, aggressive, profit-ridden obsolete laws.
As a teenager, I created lists of stolen calling card numbers, which I would trade online for hacking information and the like.
This was back in the 1980s, when AT&T essentially had a monopoly on long distance phone service. There were a number of alternative long distance companies, such as MCI and Sprint. To access them, youd dial a toll-free number, enter in your calling card number, and then the number you wanted to dial. A feature of this approach was that you could use your calling card from anywhere — home, a hotel, a pay phone, etc.
I realized that it would be easy to find working calling card numbers by brute force. I wrote a simple program on my Apple ][ computer that would call one of the toll free access numbers, dial a potential card number, then dial some online service. If my modem successfully connected, I knew that card number worked, and would append it to my list. Repeat indefinitely. I could turn my modems speaker off and let it run overnight. I could run it while I was at school and my parents were at work. It was easy.
Nothing like that would work today. A company would have fraud detection systems that would detect the large number of calls from my home, and quickly flag it. But back then these long distance companies pretty much waited for someone to complain before investigating anything. Even then theyd just cancel that number and issue the customer a new one, never seeing the bigger trend.
In retrospect, I feel really bad about what I did. Im sure it was annoying and distressing to the people who had to deal with the fraud. But as a teenager, my sense of ethics wasnt nearly as developed as it is now.
Participated in revolution which ended up in governmental overthrow.
Unlike many other fellows from Ukraine, (I am sorry guys that I dont share our values anymore) I was part of intelligence group for the fist of the revolution (People from Ukraine know what organization I am talking about right now). My main tasks were to obtain information about police movements, their equipment, orders, types of bullets (if they have only rubber bullets or real one) and many other things like that.
We were plotting, sharing forbidden materials like how to make very flammable mixtures for Molotov cocktail or even IED (thanks God nobody used IED during revolution though!).
We were actively using social networks (Mostly through the Russian version of Facebook) calling to go on streets and at some point called to take arms (After police started to shot protesters) and encouraged to shoot back.
Well, guess what? Everything escalated to the point, where people got hurt. And no doubts, police were complete assholes – they were kidnapping local leaders of protest, they murdered several of them. Everything was going out of the hand and hatred was just growing on both sides till it eventually led to the death of more than 100 people just withing two days.
A lot of protesters were killed, but many police officers were crippled and killed too. And nobody talks about it (Everyone sort of assume that they deserved that).
I can tell you that so many people got away with some many bad things during those events.
What about me? Well, just like majority, I could easily be imprisoned for attempt of unconstitutional change of power. But so far, I ended up on the side of the winners (but did we actually win?).
As a dumb 17 year old kid, I got away with mail fraud and forgery.
Several years ago I inherited a very rare collectible item worth tens of thousands of dollars. I immediately decided to sell it to help pay for college. The only problem was that there was no solid provenance to back up the authenticity of the piece. It had been in my family for several generations so there was no doubt in my mind that it was 100% real, but in order to sell it on the market I needed some sort of provenance to back the piece.
That’s when I came up with the idea of creating a fake document to accompany the piece. I created the whole thing in Photoshop, even going as far as recreating the signatures that would have been present on a real copy of the document. I was even able to convince one of the most prominent auction houses in the country that the document was genuine. They assured me that they would be able to sell the item for insane money. Everything was going great; I was on cloud nine… until it came time for the auction to go live.
A couple days after the auction began, I received a terrifying letter from a major NYC law firm representing the gentlemen whose signatures I had recreated/forged on the document.
They demanded that I tell them where I acquired the item and it’s accompanying document. I was scared crapless, so I decided to come clean and confess exactly what I had done.
Since I had tried to sell the item through an auction house and advertisements were distributed across the country through the federal mail in catalogs, they informed me that I had committed mail fraud in addition to forgery. That’s a double felony, with potential consequences ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines to multiple years in prison… or both. I have never been so scared in my life.
The feeling that you get when realizing that your entire future could be ruined over one horrible decision is indescribable.
I begged for forgiveness and apologized more than I ever have in my life. Miraculously, the big man upstairs decided to give me a second chance. A few days after initial contact, the attorneys informed me that their clients decided to drop the case against me since I was just a teenager. I literally dropped to my knees and started crying tears of thankfulness and joy upon learning this information.
Needless to say, I learned my lesson and have never tried to cut corners again. It’s simply not worth the potential consequences. The criminal life is not for me!
I smuggled 2 turtles from China to Canada in my carry on bag.
Many years ago I went back to China for a visit. I had been very bored staying with my grandparents for that summer, so my mom decided to surprise me with a gift – 2 baby turtles from a morning market.
It wasnt exactly the entertainment I was hoping for but I did appreciate my moms effort for trying to cheer me up. Eventually I was due to fly from Beijing back to Toronto, stopping over at Vancouver. My mom stuffed the 2 turtles in a glass bowl the size of a basketball, into my Aritzia bag. What you doing? I asked her. Packing for you was the answer. Even as a kid I knew I wasnt supposed to transfer live animals internationally. When I protested, my mom simply said, if they find out, say you are very sorry and let them confiscate them, say they are gifts from your mom!.
And I just agreed. That was such a hectic and emotional day, saying goodbyes to all my family, arranging transportation to the airport, my face was covered with a mixture of tears, snot and sweat constantly. Somehow having 2 turtles in my bag didnt even matter.
I passed the security in Beijing airport like a breeze. As soon as I got on the plane, I asked for some water, poured it in the glass bowl, dissolved some dry turtle food, and my reptile friends were swimming and feasting at 40,000 ft. When I got off the plane, I went straight to the washroom, dumped the water, cleaned the bowl and gave them a pat with paper towels.
Comes Vancouver airport, still no issue. I did get a little nervous watching my bag passing through X ray, but I re-assured myself if busted I would apologize very,very sincerely.
Toronto airport was the tricky part. I had claimed my luggage – 2 giant suitcases. As I pushed them out, a sniffing dog came right to my way, his trainer kept on urging him find it! find it!. Again, the kind of stupidity associated only with youth saved me. As the dog eagerly sniffing my suitcases, I stayed remarkably calm and thought to myself HA, its in my CARRY ON bag!.
Later on I found out the turtles are red-eared slider and they are considered an invasive species in North America. Serious legal consequence is guaranteed if caught.
Plus, those turtles BITE.