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5 Tips For Staying Safe When Using Craigslist to Buy and Sell Items

Craigslist, the online classified site, is an increasingly popular way for people to buy and sell items.  Post an ad, and you will nearly instantly find someone selling what you need or looking to buy what you have to sell.  It’s an almost perfect scenario, and a great way to match up buyers and sellers.  So much easier than the traditional classified ads!  Because you can target local areas so easily, Craigslist has become one of the first places people go to buy and sell items. 
Unfortunately, this also means that you may be exposing yourself to potential dangers.  Most people have heard the occasional horror stories on the news about those people who ended up as crime victims after having dealings on Craigslist.  Sadly, you really can’t trust anyone these days.  Having strangers know who you are and where you live may be a significant downside to using Craigslist.  But, here are five important tips that can help keep you safe when you choose to use Craigslist to buy and sell items.

  1. Because you are usually going to be dealing with strangers on a Craigslist transaction, be very wary about revealing your personal information.  Setting up an anonymous email account that you will use only for your online buying or selling will help protect you.  Avoid using your name as part of your email address. 
  2. Do not include your name or home address in your advertisement.  If you are not comfortable with only an email address, use only your phone number and first name.  If and when it comes time for you to make a sale or purchase, you can then exchange more information with the other party.
  3. If shipping an item that you buy or sell is not an option (which is not recommended for Craigslist) and you absolutely must meet the other party in person, do so in a public location whenever feasible.  A restaurant or busy shopping plaza may be a good choice.
  4. If you absolutely must make a Craigslist transaction at your home or someone else’s, do not do so alone.  If going to another person’s home, ask them to bring the item outside so that you do not have to go inside.  If you must go inside, absolutely never do so alone.  Similarly, do not invite purchasers to your home and allow them inside if you are alone.  Always have a friend with you when these transactions are made.  Carrying a self defense or personal protection product, such as pepper spray, is a good way to increase your safety.
  5. If you feel uncomfortable at any time while making a transaction, remove yourself immediately from the situation.  Never stay if you get the feeling that something may not be quite right.


Anytime you are dealing with strangers, it is better to be safe than sorry.  Your safety is always going to be worth more than the money you make on a Craigslist sale or the value of the bargain you find to buy.  Protecting yourself and being vigilant about your safety should always be your top priority!