How to Safely Purchase Something from Craigslist.org: 8 Steps (2024)

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Last Updated: March 29, 2019

Craigslist can be a great resource if you're looking for a good deal. If you're planning to respond to a Craigslist ad, it's important to take some basic safety precautions. With the right approach, you can get a good deal and steer clear of anyone who's trying to scam or rob you.

Steps

  1. 1

    Contact the owner via whatever method they have available. Use a non-traceable email such as Mailinator, GishPuppy, or others to keep your information private.

  2. 2

    Beware of a "great" deal. If the price you negotiate is too good to be true, it very likely is. And it may be a way to get you to come to a crook with cash in order to rob you; most people will not take as many precautions for smaller amounts of money.

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  3. 3

    Be very cautious about how much of your information you share. Giving your name and phone number are fine, but avoid giving your address or work place.

  4. 4

    Pick a mutually acceptable public place to meet. A fast food place, Starbucks, and the phone store that the phone is branded such as Sprint, or AT&T areall acceptable places. Never, even if someone gives an excuse, go to someone's home or work address, especially alone.

    • If someone gives you excuses as to why you need to go to their apartment or home, do not agree under any circ*mstance. They may tell you their children are home, they are too young to drive, that their car is broken down, or a number of other creative excuses, still, do not accept the excuse, you have no way of knowing if it's true. Very good thieves and manipulators know exactly what to say so that you let your guard down and agree to something unsafe.
  5. 5

    Set up a time. Preferablyduring the day, and have a friend or family member come with you. Make sure if you are buying jewelry or an expensive item that you try to always bring a companion. Thieves count on you being alone.

  6. 6

    Always bring your cell phone. If there is an emergency you want a quick way to get in touch with help.

  7. 7

    Go to the ATM before you meet with the person selling the item(s).You do not want the person you're meeting to follow you or be with you when you go to the bank or ATM, it could be dangerous. There is a possibility they could also be working with another person who follows you while the first person waits at the location where you've initially met.

  8. 8

    Meet the seller in a public place and complete your transaction, buying the item you want. It sounds like this is a lot of work, but it is worth it to stay safe.

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      Tips

      • Always meet in a public place.

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      • Never trust someone's excuses for not being able to meet publicly, they can sound like the most soft spoken, wonderful people and be thieves and robbers.

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      • Common excuses to get you alone are "My car has broken down", "My wife (or husband) has our only car", "I'm watching my children", "I'm too young to drive"', and "I can't leave work" to name a few.

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      Warnings

      • Never go to anyone's home or apt. alone, ever.

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      • Do not trust excuses. If they want to sell the item they will meet you publicly.

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      • Thieves lie. They will come up with elaborate stories and excuses, do not believe them.

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      • Be cautious and have money on you, never allow someone to go with you to the ATM.

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      • Do not carry any extra money or valuables on you.

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      • Never refuse to give someone your money if they have a gun or a knife.

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      • Watch to be sure you are not being followed when you leave your meeting place, especially if the item you purchased is very expensive.

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      • If you are robbed the police may not come immediately, the most important thing is to get to a safe place.

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      • If you are robbed, go to the police immediately, and post something on Craigslist.org specifying the ad you answered, especially if it's still listed. You may find you were not the only one taken advantage of.

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      References

      1. lifehacker.com

      About this article

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      Co-authors: 10

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      How to Safely Purchase Something from Craigslist.org: 8 Steps (22)

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      How to Safely Purchase Something from Craigslist.org: 8 Steps (2024)

      FAQs

      How to Safely Purchase Something from Craigslist.org: 8 Steps? ›

      Listings on Craigslist are just like traditional newspaper classified ads. All transactions are between you and the seller; Craigslist is just the “middleman.” That means when you purchase an item from a Craigslist seller, expect to pick up the item in person and pay in cash.

      How to buy from Craigslist safely? ›

      6 WAYS TO AVOID GETTING SCAMMED ON CRAIGSLIST
      1. Deal locally. It's always safest to finalize a transaction in person. ...
      2. Examine the product before finalizing a sale. ...
      3. Don't accept or send a cashier's check, certified check or money order as payment. ...
      4. Use cash — safely. ...
      5. Don't share your personal information.

      How does buying from Craigslist work? ›

      Listings on Craigslist are just like traditional newspaper classified ads. All transactions are between you and the seller; Craigslist is just the “middleman.” That means when you purchase an item from a Craigslist seller, expect to pick up the item in person and pay in cash.

      How to buy something on Craigslist from another state? ›

      phone a friend

      Make sure to mention straight away that this would be an out-of-state sale to ensure the seller is open to this sort of transaction. Also try to confirm the legitimacy of your item (if necessary) with additional photos of serial numbers, close ups of tags, etc.

      What payment methods are safe on Craigslist? ›

      In almost all cases, you are best off accepting cash for a Craigslist sale. Personal checks can bounce, and scammers can fake cashier's checks and money orders.

      How to safely make a Craigslist transaction? ›

      In any Craigslist transaction, never give out personal or financial information. Always meet in person, bring a friend, and deal in cash or use a secured or proxied form of payment such as PayPal to avoid giving your credit card information to the seller.

      Why do Craigslist buyers ask for a phone number? ›

      Scammers are now responding to ads but tricking sellers into thinking they are busy at work and can't talk until later. Instead of leaving you with a contact number, they request you enter your phone number into a website that “stores information” for them. Don't fall for it!

      How to spot fake Craigslist responses? ›

      If the buyer's email fails to make any specific reference to the item you're selling but rather refers to "the item" or uses other generic terms, there is a good chance that the reply to your ad is the work of a scammer copying and pasting replies to as many potential victims as possible.

      Is Venmo safe for Craigslist? ›

      If you are a seller, you're taking a significant risk by accepting Venmo payments. Remember, Venmo says you shouldn't use the app for informal sales, like Craigslist or Facebook market. The company can reverse Venmo payments you receive after they hit your account.

      Do people still use Craigslist to buy things? ›

      Do People Still Use Craigslist? Absolutely. You can search your local area on Craigslist and find used furniture, cars, rentals, and even jobs. However, because so many Craigslist alternatives exist, it is no longer a one-stop shopping powerhouse when it debuted in 1995.

      Do people ship items on Craigslist? ›

      What is Craigslist shipping? Craigslist shipping is a reliable way of delivering goods ordered through the online marketplace.

      What's the closest thing to Craigslist? ›

      Here are the top five Craigslist competitors to consider.
      • OfferUp. OfferUp is a popular alternative to Craigslist, and you can find almost any item on there. ...
      • Oodle. ...
      • 3. Facebook Marketplace. ...
      • Gumtree. ...
      • Locanto. ...
      • For Electronics. ...
      • Decluttr. ...
      • Buyback Boss.
      Apr 26, 2024

      How to avoid getting scammed on Craigslist? ›

      5 Ways to Avoid Getting Scammed on Craigslist
      1. Check the URL to be sure you're not on a bogus look-alike site. ...
      2. Deal locally so you can finalize a sale in person. ...
      3. Examine the product in person before finalizing a sale. ...
      4. Don't send a money order or wire transfer as payment for an item. ...
      5. Don't share your personal information.

      What should I be careful of on Craigslist? ›

      There are some common Craigslist scams that you can spot quickly and avoid once you are familiar with how they work.
      • Middleman scam. It's a common scam in the rental industry. ...
      • Escrow fraud. ...
      • Job scams. ...
      • Email recovery scams. ...
      • Buyer scams. ...
      • Seller scams.
      Jan 10, 2024

      What is the best payment method to not get scammed? ›

      By and large, credit cards are easily the most secure and safe payment method to use when you shop online. Credit cards use online security features like encryption and fraud monitoring to keep your accounts and personal information safe.

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