How Do I Respond to Inquiries From Craigslist?

by Aaron Charles

An inquiry from someone who saw your Craigslist ad could be a gateway toward your next joy, sale or future disaster. True, the Craigslist team recognizes that in the U.S. alone, over 60 million people use Craigslist each month and that the overwhelming majority of these people are trustworthy and well-intentioned. At the same time, though, Craigslist warns about scams and threats to personal safety when connecting with people via the Craigslist platform, whether for a job, an item for sale, community event or romance.

1

Determine the locality of the person inquiring, since Craigslist's terms of use notes that Craigslist is a local service. Check the inquirer's email message, if the person contacted you by email, for a phone number and verify that the number is local. Or, if the person called you and left a message, check your call log or voice message to verify it's a local number. If the person's not local, don't feel obligated to respond. If the person is, you can choose to proceed.

2

Analyze the inquiry for scam- or crime-like elements. Reject or don't respond to inquiries that involve potentially wiring money, providing your financial information, clicking on unsolicited Web links or pressure to meet personally for the first time in an isolated, nonpublic place.

3

Respond to the inquiry by phone or email, with the intent of sharing all relevant information with the inquirer, but no more than is necessary. Don't be afraid to ask the person where he's from, to confirm locality. If it comes to it, arrange to meet for the first time in a place like a cafe where there are other people around, and continue your business there, whether it's personal or commercial. Do not invite people to your home without having met them first.

Tip

  • Craigslist reps state that dealing with locals only will help you avoid 99 percent of scams.

About the Author

Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."

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