How to Safely Use Craigslist

Date Thu, November 15 2012
Use an isolated email address.
Just in case, don’t use the email address that you need to log in to your phone or bank account. If you can, shield your address or create a new one especially for Craigslist and other dealings.
Don’t give away personal information.
If you’re looking for a job or a roommate, be a little vague before you have a chance to meet someone in person. If you want to submit a resume, remove identifying information such as an address or phone number. Remember, your email address can still lead someone to your website, Facebook or other online location.
Get a phone number and name.
Should someone scam you, a phone number and name will help when it’s time to file a police report in an attempt to catch a thief.
Beware scams.
Avoid constant reposts or ads that seem too good to be true. They probably are. Don’t accept anything that will be shipped.
Ask for photos.
A lot of scamming goes on with Craigslist. Ask for photos or videos to prove the item is real and works.
Meet in public.
I’ve broken this rule.. twice. But meet at a McDonald’s or a mall rather than your home. You don’t want lawbreakers to know where you live, what you have, when you’re alone et cetera. If you absolutely must meet at home, don’t be alone. Ask a friend over, and he can bring his dog.
Never let them see how much money you have on you

Never let them see how much money you have on you

Check out the item before you hand over money.
You don’t want to be the person who got the mirror wrapped up to look like an iPod, right? So open the box, turn it on. Check to see if it works. If you can’t, don’t pay for it. Request folks to have things charged up for you. If you’re looking to buy something large, make sure your meeting place has enough room. If you’re buying something expensive, complicated or alive (as in pets), consider a notarized agreement per condition.
Only accept cash.
Personal checks bounce. Western Union and MoenyGram can be canceled without you knowing it. Money orders and cashier’s checks are a hassle. Cold-hard cash it preferred. Spend a couple bucks on a marker that helps you detect fakes. Ask for smaller bills, like twenties instead of fifties, to avoid fakes.

2 Responses

  1. Jenn November 15 2012 @ 12:57 pm

    An isolated, non-identifying email address (for example: instead of is SO important. I encounter so many personal/identifying email addresses on Craigslist, and it just doesn’t make sense!

    I also only deal in cash.

    Besides meeting in central, busy locations, and only during daylight hours, I go a paranoid further step by bringing my gun-toting husband with me. Ha.

  2. Cole November 16 2012 @ 6:33 am

    I wouldn’t necessarily only go during daylight hours. For example, I met up at the mall to sell my phone at night ish — 6:30. It was a busy place. We were actually right buy the kiddie play place, so I’m sure hovermoms would’ve come to my rescue. considering that so many people work until 5 and it’s already dark at 4:30 here, that’s hard to do.

    I actually don’t use a separate email address on CL. I should, I know, but I have so many to keep track of. There’s some anonymizing service that I’ve looked at though.

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