When You Reply to a Craigslist Ad Is It Anonymous?

By Andy Warycka

Craigslist provides anonymous email relays for your privacy.
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If you like to buy and sell regularly on Craigslist, you may be concerned with the number of people who end up with your contact information after an email exchange. Craigslist understands the need for privacy and has put in place an email relay system that keeps your email address obscured, but doesn’t completely hide your identity unless you take additional steps.

Email Relay and Privacy

In order to reduce the amount of spam and scams circulating on Craigslist, the service has implemented a two-way email relay. When you reply to an ad, your email is sent to an anonymous email that is a random string of letters and numbers @sale.craigslist.org. On the other end, the seller receives an email from a random string of letters and numbers @reply.craigslist.org. This protects the privacy of your actual email address, as the seller never sees your actual email. It also prevents scammers and spammers from using Craigslist to harvest email addresses.

Not Total Anonymity

While your actual email address is obscured, the relay still passes the “real name” field from your email through to the recipient. So if you have your full name listed in the name field of your address, the seller will still get that information. If you prefer total anonymity, you can either change the real name field on your email account or set up an additional email account with a pseudonym in the name field for replying to Craigslist ads.