Staying safe while using Craigslist

Jun 7, 2012 14:14:56Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

Staying safe while using Craigslist

Craigslist started out in 1995 as a way for one man to let his friends know about various events, and it has turned into the world's largest virtual flea market, with 40 million people from around the world using it each month, according to

However, just like many other successful technological advancement, there are those who utilize the site to scam others. Fortunately, there are several ways both buyers and sellers can protect themselves and have a good experience, the Denver Post reports.

"The problem with Craigslist is that it's just gotten too successful," marketing and consumer affairs professor Prashant Malviya, at Georgetown University, told the news source. "So people are exploiting it for reasons and purposes that go against the spirit in which it was created."

Tips for sellers

First of all, staying local is key. Sellers should not consider doing business with someone overseas or someone who does not want to see the product in person. Also, always take cash and be careful not to give away any personal information when writing the ad, Socket advises.

"When acting as a buyer or seller, be sure to use a cell phone so your number cannot be traced to your home address. When you meet someone in person, insist on meeting in a public location - a local restaurant, a busy parking lot or a gas station," Thrasher told the news source.

Sellers may want to take this one step further by setting up another email or purchasing a second phone number that will be used exclusively for Craigslist. This way, buyers will not have access to personal emails or cell phone numbers.

Advice for buyers

When thinking about purchasing something on Craigslist, there are a few tips to consider, including seeing the product first and avoiding wiring money. When deciding where to meet to exchange the money and product, it is advisable for the place to be public - at a busy parking lot, gas station or local restaurant are all great options.

Both sellers and buyers should also notify friends and family about the meeting and bring a friend when possible, the media outlet reports.

Craigslist offers best practices list

On the Craigslist website, there are a series of best practices lists and advice for avoiding scams and fraud. It also advises users to take extra caution when buying or selling expensive items. With all of this in mind, users can enjoy getting rid of old stuff and taking advantage of great deals.