Due to some past controversies, Craigslist has gotten a bad reputation for being unsafe to its users. These controversies involve violent crimes, including murders, rape, or kidnappings. Some other controversies, while not as big, include smaller scams such as cheque frauds or armed robberies.

These are some reasons why people think Craigslist is unsafe and prefer using other platforms, such as eBay, to sell their stuff online.

Craigslist, as a platform, has had to battle with these controversies for the longest time. Despite Craigslist not facilitating these crimes, it has still taken the blame for being the source of it. The platform has taken some actions against these controversies.

However, these actions have mostly been limited to only warning users and asking them to take precautions when it comes to interacting with people.

Despite all these controversies, Craigslist has stayed up and running, which proves that the platform is still safe for users. The incidents, when viewed individually, can be worrisome.

However, there are hundreds or thousands of transactions that take place through Craigslist. For every controversy that involves Craigslist, there are millions of other transactions that have gone right.

By following some simple tips on how to stay safe when using Craigslist, users can ensure they don’t come across any potential problems.

Some of these tips come straight from Craigslist itself, while others come from well-reputed sources. Therefore, given below is a list of five top tips users can follow to ensure everything goes smoothly and they stay safe.

1) Don’t deal with out of towners or people who don’t want to meet

One of the biggest red flags, when it comes to dealing with people on Craigslist, is people who say they come from out of town or don’t want to meet.

Usually, it indicates a possible scam attempt. While there may be some people who may have genuine excuses, the majority of the people with these problems are scammers.

The way Craigslist works is that buyers and sellers have to meet face to face to exchange goods. When a user does not want to meet, there may be some malicious intent behind it. Usually, this type of scam involves trying to extract money from users without providing services or cheque frauds.

2) Look out for obvious mistakes that give away scammers

While scammers are mostly smart people, they do commit some mistakes that can give them away. Similarly, scammers look to attract the maximum amount of people to scam. Therefore, they do some things that one wouldn’t expect from a regular advertisement.

Knowing and identifying these signs can be crucial for users. For example, scammers put advertisements with offers that are too good to be true to attract users.

Similarly, they avoid giving personal information, such as location or other information to avoid being identified. By looking out for these giveaways, users can easily stay safe from any possible scam attempts.

3) Don’t give away personal information such as email address and phone numbers

Giving away personal information such as email addresses and phone numbers is a way in which Craigslist users attract scammers. Craigslist has an option to hide the email address of its users by giving them a proxy address instead.

Similarly, the platform recommends users don’t share their personal information through which scammers can identify them or track them.

Once a user determines that the other party, they are contacting is genuinely interested, only then they should exchange personal information.

Craigslist facilitates dealing with users without sharing personal information. Thus, through these facilities, users can avoid both scammers and spammers.

4) Avoid payments through cheques or wire transfer

The favorite type of scam that scammers use is to ask unsuspecting victims to accept wire transfers or cheques. To sweeten the deal, scammers may also throw in some extra money to convince the victim to accept their offer.

However, cheque and wire transfer frauds are the most common fraud and one of the oldest tricks scammers use. That is because these payments require some time to clear.

By the time the victim finds out that they got scammed, the scammers become untraceable. Some scammers may also ask to use third-party services that facilitate deals. These are also a well-known fraud scheme.

5) Meet in public places

Craigslist, and many other agencies, recommend users to meet in public places to avoid any problems. This tip can not only save users from small crimes, such as armed robberies, but also more violent crimes, such as kidnapping or even murder.

It is difficult for users to know about the opposite party just through the conversation they have on Craigslist, or even phone calls.

Therefore, Craigslist recommends users meet in public places, such as shopping malls, restaurants, etc. to avoid any problems. The safest bet for users is to meet in a police precinct, which is also what the platform suggests.


Craigslist has a controversial past due to some incidents related to it. Due to these controversies, it has garnered a bad reputation.

However, these incidents make only a minute proportion of the overall deals that the platform facilitates regularly. Despite that, users should make sure they take some precautions before using Craigslist. They can follow the list of the top five tips on how to stay safe when using Craigslist given above.