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, and kidnappings. Some other arguments, while not as big, include more minor scams such as cheque fraud or armed robberies.

These are 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 these controversies for the longest time. Despite Craigslist not facilitating these crimes, it has still taken the blame for being the source of them. 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 interacting with people.

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

However, hundreds or thousands of transactions 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, while others come from well-reputed sources. Therefore, 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 giant red flags when 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.

Craigslist works because 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 scam involves trying to extract money from users without providing services or cheque fraud.

2) Look out for apparent mistakes that give away scammers

While scammers are primarily intelligent 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 things that a regular advertisement wouldn’t expect.

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 possible scam attempts.

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

Giving away personal information such as email addresses and phone numbers is a way Craigslist users attract scammers. Craigslist can hide its users’ email addresses by giving them a proxy address instead.

Similarly, the platform recommends that users not share personal information through which scammers can identify or track them.

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

The scammers become untraceable when the victim finds out that they got scammed. Some scammers may also ask to use third-party services that facilitate deals. These are also well-known fraud schemes.

5) Meet in public places

Craigslist, and many other agencies, recommend users meet in public places to avoid problems. This tip can save users from minor crimes, such as armed robberies, and more violent crimes, such as kidnapping or murder.

It is difficult for users to know about the opposite party through their conversations on Craigslist or even phone calls.

Therefore, Craigslist recommends that users meet in public places, such as shopping malls, restaurants, etc., to avoid problems. The safest bet for users is to meet in a police precinct, which 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 comprise only a minute proportion of the overall deals the platform facilitates regularly. Despite that, users should make sure they take some precautions before using Craigslist. They can follow the top five tips on staying safe when using Craigslist.