Craigslist Users Being Robbed – Staying Safe when Buying or Selling on Craigslist.

A warning to preppers, or anyone who buy items on Craigslist:

Craigslist Page

Over the last couple of years, the number of people being robbed or killed when responding to Craigslist ads has been on the rise. The news is filled with people being either seriously injured, or killed when responding to an ad on Craigslist.

From Police in Houston warning the public of an increase in Craigslist robberies, to the 18-year-old couple who was robbed and killed in San Diego, Craigslist is becoming a dangerous place to find and buy goods. Criminals are placing fake ads in hopes of luring people with large amounts of cash to their location, where they can then rob them.

If you’re going to buy something on Craigslist, there are a couple of safety precautions you should take.

  1. Check out the seller’s information: Ask for a phone number and an address. Take that information, and then check the names of the seller online to find out who you are dealing with.
  2. Ask a lot of questions: Ask as many questions as you can before going to buy the product. If the seller can’t answer your questions, there is a good chance that he doesn’t actually have the product, and could be setting you up.
  3. Don’t buy from sellers who only list an email address: This is a HUGE RED FLAG. If they don’t list their phone number, the seller usually has something to hide.
  4. Meet in a public place – Criminals don’t want witnesses; meeting in a public place like a coffee shop or cafe can help ensure your safety.  Most of the criminals on Craigslist are looking for an easy target and are not very likely to rob you in a cafe full of people.
  5. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: A lot of these Craigslist scams are pretty easy to spot. If the deal sounds too good to be true, you are better off passing it up.
  6. Never go to a second location – If you arrive at the predetermined meeting place and the seller asks to go to another place, this should raise some serious red flags. There is no reason for a seller to ask you to go somewhere else.
  7. Don’t go alone. You should always have someone with you who can watch your back.
  8. Show up early: If you are meeting in a public location, show up early and scope out the area. Watch for the seller, and make sure everything looks legit. If you have even the slightest concern that something seems out of place, trust your instincts and leave.


  1. Sk1F1sh
    July 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    All good advice, but I really like number 8. Gives you the upper hand. Especially if you stay out of site.

    • Jim
      March 27, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      When I purchase from CL I try to have a police officer on hand. If they can’t, try the local sheriff. Otherwise definitely meet at the police station. No other spot is acceptable to me. If the seller doesn’t like it too bad…no deal. I never see the need to give a phone number…they can email you if they are going go be late…never give a phone number..ever! Your smartphone can receive emails just as easy as calls. Never give out your address or any other personal info. It is not necessary. Make it clear if buying you want to inspect the item at the meeting spot (police station) to verify it works if it’s electronic etc. While meeting at a place where there’s a lot of people, it doesn’t always discourage crooks but & I would only do it that way if an officer or sheriff could oversee the transaction. If these things I mentioned can’t be done, it’s not worth a risk. If you need to visit someone’s home, insist the police also be there & don’t go in until they arrive…better yet don’t park there until you see the cops there…drive around until they arrive. If the seller doesn’t like this, something is not right..I realize this is extreme but it will help you & should put the other party ay ease too if they are honest!

      • kevin daniels
        April 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm

        Don’t know where u live but the police around here would laugh at you if u made a request for them to go shopping with you so u could be safe in buying from craigslist.

      • Michael
        June 1, 2016 at 2:31 pm

        Yes, Craigslist is a risk to buy or sell and we want to think most people are fairly honest! Honestly as a frequent seller on Craigslist I have simple rules… You come to me period. I don’t meet anyone anywhere . I am comfortable selling items during the day from condo with video surveillance and plenty of witnesses! You have to screen your calls I believe! You need to hear the person ask questions and if any flags go up for you tell them item just sold ect! However I have purchased items off Craigslist and showing up early and survey your surroundings is key! Also advise legal conceal carry !! So much advice you could go on for days! Most important go with your gut.. If somthing seems wrong it probably is do quickly terminate sale or purchase!!!!

      • Joe Deep
        February 11, 2017 at 10:36 pm

        Dude you sound like you got some serious fucking issues you need worked out. Lol a little paranoid much??? Like if someone wont only meet at a police station there bad people? You make zip nodda sense. Sign yourself into a mental hospital right away. Fucking weird mother fucker you are. Lol and have cops be at the meet with you?? Fuck you live at? People like you are the people other people need to worry about. Weird ass people like yourself would red flag me and mostly everyone else. Lol get some help my friend. If your some what any serious about what you said, seriously find the nearest mental hospital and tell them to sign you in for life. Cause people like you dont need to be on the street. Your the type of mother fucker to kidnapp and rape and be a serial killer. Creeper

        • Joe Deep Troller
          April 30, 2017 at 6:58 am

          Joe Deep what kind of IDIOT fuck-tard are you??!!

        • titty muncher
          June 2, 2017 at 11:51 pm

          You need a fucking mental hospital yourself. I can understand his paranoia. I probably wouldn’t bother the cops for a cheap item. But you can bet your hairy, stinky, sweaty balls if it’s expensive I will sit on the cop’s lap wbile doing the transaction. You could kidnap and rape me. Not saying I wouldn’t like it. Yeah…. So, how big is your ball sack? How many testicle hairs do you have? In case you rape me i need to know. If you rape me make sure its in the ass. Thanks contact me at 7028906654 my name is titty muncher

  2. Marvin
    July 14, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Bring my 9mm to all buys

  3. Deborah
    July 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Very good advice. Sadly, criminals take advantage of good sites. Meeting at the police station is a good place.

  4. Brian
    July 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I had a young man come in to my station the other day, who had reported his $400 phone stolen the previous day. He said he found it on craigslist and was going to see if it was his, and requested that an officer be nearby for his protection. As the call volume was incredibly high, we had no officers to spare. First, I recommended that he NOT attempt to recover his property, as someone who will steal his phone isn’t taking that big of a leap to rob him at a potential buy. Second, I told him that if he doesn’t listen, and goes through with it, to not bring the money. If he verifies that the phone is his, I told him to tell the seller that he didn’t bring the money, because he didn’t want to get robbed, and that he was going to run to the ATM. He was to get a good physical and vehicle description, bug out, and let our investigators know. I haven’t heard how it went, but there was nothing in the news or the police blotter. Anyway, it’s always a good idea to not bring the money, or have a friend holding it close by. You can usually gauge a person after just talking to them for a little while, and your instincts will rarely, if ever, fail you.

  5. Dan Sanford
    October 31, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I always have the .44 with on craigslist runs. Overkill prehaps, but it carrys just fine in the truck and isn’t as visible as the rifle.

  6. Annette
    May 14, 2012 at 4:01 am

    My son just passed away on Sunday, May 6, 2012. I have medical equipment that I would like to sell including a medical bed, mattress, hygiene supplies, suction tubing, etc. The items are in my home in the den I converted to a makeshift hospital room for him.

    How do I go about selling these items and staying safe. The items are too many and some too large to take to a cafe. I don’t know if I can get police to my home to be sure I’m getting a real buyer. What should I do?

    • mike
      February 5, 2013 at 11:04 pm

      Do you know some young people, like 2 college guys that are big that can meet the buyer and scope them out first? Even if you compensated them for their time. Have the young men deal with the people as if it is THEIR home and not yours, dont you even be there. Good Luck and Im sorry about the loss of your Son, God Rest His Soul.

      • Lois
        December 12, 2013 at 11:01 am

        Contact your local Hospice. They may know of clients that are in need of your items. Also you could check with the local VA or church’s to see if they know of anyone that would like to buy your items. This way you are safer than dealing with something like Craigslist.

    • martin sifuentes
      April 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      I believe you be better off selling your stuff on EBay.. but if it does not worth much you can sell it local,, people more like to steal electronics and small stuff that they can sell quick like phones, laptops , tablets.. TVs gold and stuff like that.

  7. John
    January 2, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I have gone through Craigslist to buy iPhones and i had came across good deal which also states buy 2 and get 1 free. Now i have convinced the seller that i will pay only after receiving the product personally and the seller said that he need my full name with shipping address and telephone number and said that i pay him once i receive phones personally. The worst is i can’t deal locally or face to face because it is distant deal….i want your suggestions..should i give my address and phone number to this seller .. kindly help

    • Donna
      December 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      Never, ever, buy from craigslist that is not local. Craigslist is in all cities. What you are describing here is is a scam. eBay is for long distance items.
      DO NOT BUY!!

  8. Grizz
    August 2, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Keep your eyes and ears open. Make sure you keep situational awareness. Like #7 suggests, NEVER go alone. The best person to take with you is someone that has no interest in what you’re buying. This allows the second person to keep his/her eyes and ears scanning while you negotiate.

    Also, carrying a pistol does not guarantee safety unless you maneuver correctly, keep a safe distance from others there, etc. Don’t let your own firearm be taken and then pointed at you. It all boils down to good concealed carry training. For God’s sake, please don’t rely on those famous quick pencil-whipping conceal carry classes make you feel fully trained. Get GOOD training, take different classes from different instructors and/or facilities.

  9. M
    December 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    About #3, I am a female who sells things via CL and I NEVER put my phone number down, only email. I don’t want random people having my number.

    • Donna
      December 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Keep in mind, a lot of folks won’t answer email contact only ads, I’m one of them, and I buy and sell a bunch of stuff on CL. A lot of those ads for getting legit email addressees from people…

  10. tjl
    December 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    The variety of things being sold are too great to fit into the silly mold painted by this article.

    And, everything is focused on protecting the buyer, NOT the seller.

    Sellers often have no choice but to offer people an open door to their home, which is very scary sometimes.

    #3 is COMPLETELY WRONG! Emailing first protects both parties, the buyer and the seller. It allows both to get to know each other a little before gradually disclosing personal and identifying information.

    If the seller puts all personal info out, he has just become vulnerable to anyone who goes to the sight, whether they make contact or not.

    We are trying to liquidate most of our possessions in preparation to sell our home and move. We have had to face down some bad people in the process of using sites like Craigslist.

    Scammers really love it if you take the advice of #3. They will eat you alive.

    • Sarah
      December 13, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      This this this. As a seller I would NEVER put more than an e-mail down on the ad itself. Heck I even use the craigslist fake email. That allows me as a seller to filter through half-arsed responses that didn’t read the full ad or just plain bad-vibed responses.

      I would then communicate back and forth with the buyer, and when I feel comfortable that they’re serious and someone worth dealing with (it’s easy to tell a lot by someone just based on how they type and the questions they ask) organize a public meeting place to do the exchange and time, and THEN give my phone number once they’ve committed to buying at that point so we can contact one another once we’re on the road/etc. I’ve never had anyone actually use the phone at that point (if they don’t show I give 20-30 minutes before leaving, I don’t call and hound them) but it gives them a way to contact and say they’re running late or whatever.

      Personally I would never sell or buy anything worth more than $30-40 on Craigslist, but I guess to each his own. Just seems safer to rely on Ebay or Amazon for anything high value–especially popular stuff like electronics.

  11. Madelyn
    December 12, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I was selling things on Craig’s list I didn’t know anything about what said was going on. I am moving. Movers charge so much so I thought I could sell my stuff make the moving money. I stopped the ad. Just gave the stuff away great stuff. Then my son told mom don’t buy or sell people will kill you. I didn’t know. Here I was buying stuff before I knew I planned on moving. Went to people’s houses bought bikes for the kids that didn’t have them. Then a hutch I saw on Craig’s list I went to go see it at his house. God I wouldn’t of gone if I knew what I know now. That worked out great though it was beautiful he delivered it and left. Maybe I was lucky. I think I’m done trying my luck now that I know how dangerous it is. That’s a shame some people screwed it up for the honest ones

  12. Anastasia
    December 12, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Wow. Intense article. THANK YOU! I just listed two items on Craigslist maybe 10 minutes ago. Now Im thinking If anyone responds, I will simply bring the items to a coffee shop and sell them there. I listed the items far below their worth (under $50 each) because Im nice. But Now I wont give out my address. You gotta be careful, I agree.

  13. Billie
    December 13, 2013 at 7:09 am

    I have bought and sold items on Craigslist and I think that as a seller, you have to protect yourself too! I never put my phone number or my address on my adds. I always use my e-mail address to communicate with the buyers prior to giving them my personal information! You don’t want people just showing up at your door at all times of the day unexpected, do you? We have sold some large items and the buyers had to come to our home to see them prior to buying them. We only have had one bad experience selling on Craigslist and that was basically our own fault. This should be common sense but please advise your readers that if they sell a vehicle on Craigslist to make sure the buyer is who they say they are and that you check out their DL. You, as the seller should fill out all of their information on the release form using their DL info and if at all possible, have them go to the DMV with you to complete the transfer. This way you do not get stuck in the situation we are now, where the new buyer gave false info on the release form and never registered the car in his name, turned around and sold it for more money to someone who also never registered it. Because of this, my son is still the registered owner of the vehicle and therefor the police dept., the tow company and the DMV is billing him for parking tickets, towing and storage charges as well as the late registration fees. All of these charges are several times more than what the car sold for! While doing some research, I found out that we are not the only ones that this has happened to, so please make sure to advise your readers so they too don’t get scammed when selling their vehicles on Craigslist.

  14. Nico
    January 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    ALWAYS MEET AT A POLICE STATION!! Tell the seller ahead of time so you know they’re legit from the get go. If you’re selling…never divulge the address until the ppl are in the area. I ensure this by having them meet me up the street at a local gas station (where I know surveillance cameras are working/I park where they HAVE to pass the cameras) and have them follow you to the location. Yes, this is a secondary location but it is safest as a seller if you can’t get the items away from a residence.

  15. Randy
    January 15, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I don’t go anywhere without a gun, and I fully alert and a where of my surroundings.

  16. Sampuku
    October 2, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I DISAGREE that you shouldnt buy if they only post their email. As an avid CL seller, I tried posting my phone #. I then got barraged with telemarketing calls and push ads, not to mention people calling or texting at 2am to low ball me. However, I WILL give my phone # via email to buyers who seem serious. So, I wouldnt avoid a buy just because they dont list thwir #. Just ask for it!

  17. wayne
    August 16, 2015 at 9:39 am

    this article is kind of common sense and only tells a small part of the story.

    i live in houston, tx. have sold and bought well over 100 items via craigslist.
    99.93% of the people have been totally cool. a couple have even become friends. there were a few people i weeded out because their manner via email was shady or they were just stupid. a couple of people were a little odd in person. but that’s about it.

    never, ever, EVER POST your phone number on criagslist. ONLY give it to the person after exchanging a few emails about the item. and even then, i tend to use my skype number unless there is no other option.

    the only thing that makes me nervous is for larger items where there is no option other than having them come to your house. even if its something you’re giving away and no money is exchanged. you have to wonder if they are just coming to case your house. just today i advertised a free, non-working lcd tv. it was claimed within the hour by (feel free to call me racist) two sort of shady looking, young black guys. they were very nice and polite. but the vehicle they showed up in was totally beat up, had cloth in the space of a broken window. what would they want with a non-working tv? are they budding tv repair men? maybe. or were they just casing my house? or to see if the home owner looked like somebody they could overpower? i handed them the tv in the driveway. then went back in the house to get the remote and off they went. without issue.

    it’s one of those things where you have to be smart. use your best judgement and TRUST YOUR GUT!

  18. Tony
    January 18, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Any store during the day with surveilance is good if u do not have a fire arm available, usually i go to a store if not a police station due to distance reasons lol but i carry a 45 everywhere i go and my friends at stores have a gun too i wouldnt do it anyother way. They are there to buy not to know where u live but thats just me ive been doin this for years and never had a problem secrecy is everything.

  19. Eulie
    January 23, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Supposedly ABC aired a show that said you should always meet at the sellers address because if they refuse to give you an address the property is probably stolen. What??? I have two rules: we meet in public and while the sun is still up. I have sold TV’s out of my home before but always with a very well muscled, intimidating male friend right there as a deterrent. I have been the victim of people not showing up with the promised cash before though…that stinks no matter where you meet at.

  20. jon kelly
    September 11, 2016 at 6:15 am

    I answered an add for a mower. It was supposed to be a Self Propelled Snapper Mower in working condition. It was a long drive there but I went, the price was cheap and sort of odd, $33.00, so to speak, but after getting there I saw it. The rubber wheels were worn down to the hollow inside part, the self propelled was missing parts, the wheel adjuster was broken, he said he just put a new pull rope on it, but it did not retrack. He said he just got it off Craigs list for free a week ago and put the rope on it to see if it ran, then avertised it. The self propelled has not been connected or working in a long time and the rubber disc is hard as a rock. I was maiinly interested in the self propelled part, but I could not believe this person was so cheap living in a huge expensive house, selling junk. I did ask questions before going, but he never told me any of this in the email or on the phone. I should never have bought it but spending an hour on the road and wasting gas, I did. After a better look I discovered even more wrong. He was not pushey but I felt he would screw anyone. In all my experiance buying on Craigs list, this person has to be the cheapest person I have run into and dishonest. It has the parts to make it self propelled, but he did not put in the add that the wheels were shot, the self propelled was not hooked up or working, and I doubt it ran. His name is Norac 703 909-4291 in Manassas VA. 11399 Moore Drive. He was also selling a bakers rack which I see on CL for free all the time. He also had in the add it was a 5hp, but he did clariify that saying it was a 3.5 and a type O. H should have been a used car saleman and may have been. To the average person, this would cost 300.00 to 400.00 easy to repair, if not more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.