poor extortion attempt. What should I do?

A little weasel sent a me a private message on a forum I work at:

There’s no actual threat. The site is not actually mine, though it does belong to some one I care about, and it doesn’t contain any illegal material (it’s just a webcomic). Even if it did, I’m pretty sure that extortion is still pretty darn illegal too.

The weasel was brilliant enough to send this over our forum’s private message system, which records ip addresses. I know what ip address he connects from. I know his paypal account name (obviously), and he signed up with the same email. I know what isp he uses.

I just don’t know what, if anything, I should do with this information. I don’t want to do anything unethical or illegal to the weasel, but this little scheme of his may deserve more than the forum banning I gave him. Would Bellsouth be upset about one of their customers doing this? Would Paypal? Neither TOS has extortion in plain letters.

I hope this is the right forum, since I’d like a factual answer about where most isp’s and Paypal would stand on this, and opinions on whether I should bother responding any further.

Your tale reminds me of this CNN story.

Most of the experts quoted in the article believe that the threats are mostly hollow, though they admit that them following through is a definite possibility. It doesn’t say anything about the ISP/Paypal reaction, although considering the article’s characterization of this thing as a “scam,” I can’t imagine they’d be pleased, especially since extortion IS a crime and all.

From all my dealings with PayPal it seems as though they really want a service beyond reproach. I’m sure they’d appreciate knowing a member is acting in such a way.

Paypal loves to close people’s accounts and keep their money. It probably wouldn’t take much to get them to at least flag his account, and if they get more complaints, he’s likely SOL.

Why wouldn’t you turn this over to the police? Fifty dollars may not seem like much but I doubt that you are the only target of this scam. This guy may be extorting web site owners/workers all over the US - or the world.

I say turn him in.

You say this is a forum where you “work”? Is it the case, then, that a fellow employee of this company or organization sent you the message. If so, and if you actually have nothing to be embarrassed about, I’d rat him out to upper management and contact the police.

I believe that the “forum I work at” means a forum for which the OP is an administrator or a moderator, not a forum at his/her place of business