Craigslist is a company that was initiated in 1995 when its owner Craig Newmark started an email list. Initially, he sent emails to 10-12 of his close friends, notifying them about any events in the San Francisco Bay area. Later, in 1996, he transitioned it into an online classified advertisements platform.

Today, the platform is arguably the largest online classified ads platform, with millions of users and billions of monthly page views. The platform has garnered a reputation for all the right reasons. First of all, users of the platform applaud it for being extremely user-friendly and easy to use.

Similarly, the company is well-known for delivering value to its users rather than generating revenues or profit. It is one of the reasons the company is against displaying third-party ads on its website. Most of the categories on the platform are free for users to post their advertisements.

Overall, Craigslist’s users are satisfied with what the platform offers them. That is mainly because using the platform has many advantages for them.

However, that is not to say that using the platform does not have disadvantages. Apart from the advantages and disadvantages, platform users also face some risks.

Below is a list of the five risks users face when using Craigslist. These are risks generally caused by scammers and sometimes criminals that threaten the platform’s users. While these risks are not exclusive, they are the major ones that users must deal with regularly.

1) Spam

While some may not consider spamming a risk, it deserves a place on the list. Because Craigslist allows user input, it also allows spammers to interact with genuine users. The platform has taken some measures against spammers before.

However, it has been unable to eradicate spam. Therefore, its users are still susceptible to the risk of spam. While spam in itself is not a risk, some spammers use it as a way to carry out malicious activities.

Some spam may also come with viruses, which can attack users’ devices. It may come with other ways of exploiting the users as well.

2) Phishing

Phishing is when a scammer sends a link to the seller in response to an ad, usually through email. The link contains a fake website that prompts the visitor to enter personal information, such as email, password, credit card information, social security card number, etc. Once the user enters the required information, it gets stored in the scammer’s storage.

The scammer can then use the data maliciously, for example, through identity theft. Phishing is one of the most common risks that most users face. Craigslist also warns its users against any possible phishing attempts. It is a risk that all users have to deal with regularly.

3) Damaged goods

While Craigslist is an online platform that users can use to advertise anything, including services and jobs, users mainly use it to sell goods. Regarding these goods, buyers risk getting damaged goods from the sellers.

This case applies to many different items, specifically electronic items. The item may appear in working condition, but since buyers cannot check them at the time, they may buy damaged goods. In the end, the buyer faces the risk of paying for goods that are not in working condition.

4) Cheque fraud

Another common type of risk faced by Craigslist users is cheque fraud. In this type of fraud, a scammer offers a genuine-looking counterfeit cashier’s check to the seller in exchange for their goods.

Usually, they make the amount of the cheque higher than the value of the goods to lure the seller into accepting the cheque.

When the seller takes the cheque to their bank, it gets rejected after the bank processes the cheque. Therefore, the seller loses the goods to the scammer and gets nothing in exchange. It is also one of the most common risks faced by users of the platform.

5) Violent crime

When it comes to controversies and crimes, Craigslist has a notorious past. There are several instances of criminals using Craigslist to commit a crime. For example, the infamous ‘Craigslist Killer’ killed a victim meeting them through Craigslist.

Similarly, there are several other crimes that Craigslist users were victims of, such as armed robberies or sometimes even kidnappings.

While the platform asks users to take precautions when meeting other parties in person, it cannot predict or prevent such crimes. Violent crimes are users’ most dangerous risk due to using Craigslist.


Craigslist is the largest online classified advertisements platform, facilitating users in offering goods and services to buyers. The platform is well-known and used by millions in various countries.

Despite its popularity, though, Craigslist users face some risks when it comes to using the platform. These risks include spam, phishing, damaged goods, cheque fraud, and violent crime.