How to Protect Yourself When Selling on Craigslist


Whether you’re selling an old kitchen table, a TV you no longer use, or even a room in your home to rent, Craigslist is a great way to find customers. It makes it incredibly easy to connect with people who are looking for exactly what you’re selling. 

That being said, it can be dangerous as well. There are steps you can take to make selling things on craigslist as safe as possible. Below you’ll find several ways on how to protect yourself while trying to make a bit of extra money.

Selling Online Safety

1. Personal Information

The first thing we want to touch on is to be careful of what personal information you include in your ad. When you’re creating a Facebook ad, it is advised that you do not include your personal phone number or a permanent email address.

You also want to be aware that when you’re taking photos of what you’re selling that your home address, house number, apartment number, or even your workplace is nowhere in the photo. This makes it more difficult for someone wanting to cause you to harm to find you.

2. How a Customer Contacts You

You may be asking yourself how someone contacts you if you don’t leave your phone number or email address. Thankfully, craigslist offers an anonymous email for customers to contact. When they choose to email the seller of a product that they are interested in, they will not be able to see your email address.

3. Meeting Up

If you have corresponded with someone who is interested in buying something that you’re selling and it is time to meet up, it is absolutely crucial to do so in a public place. If you’re selling something large, such as furniture, do not initially meet in a parking lot. Make sure your initial meeting with them is in a public place such as inside a coffee shop. 

The purpose of this is so that other people see you and know that you were together in the event that something goes wrong. Meeting in public also greatly reduces the chance of you getting robbed. You can also always bring someone else with you. It is a great idea to use the buddy system when meeting up with a stranger in public to sell something off of craigslist. 

If you’re not sure where to meet up with someone, a common and safe place is your local police station parking lot. You can go inside the police station ahead of time and let them know why you’re in the parking lot and what time the exchange should be done. This is a great way to ensure your safety. Lastly, you can go the extra mile and the wet a friend or family member know who you’re meeting up with, what time, where, and when the meeting should be over.

4. Payment Methods

Believe it or not, there are certain payment methods that you may not want to accept when selling something on craigslist. One of the key tips for selling online safely is that you do not accept checks. Checks can easily balance and be forged and will often bounce. The last thing you want is to sell an item and then not actually receive payment for it. You can ask the buyer ahead of time that they pay in cash only. 

If you’re a bit more modern, you may be able to use money sending apps such as Venmo or Cash App. If you’re going this route, make sure they send you the money digitally before you handover the item. In addition, make sure you withdraw from the app of your choice immediately.

5. Sell Locally 

Craigslist was initially designed to be used as a website for local communities to sell and buy items. The majority of sales are local and pick up only purchases. With that being said, if you receive an email from the buyer stating that they are in a different city, state, or even country, and are willing to pay for shipping, be aware that that is a scam. 

To avoid being scammed as much as possible, make sure you’re selling locally. What do you consider local can range quite a bit. You can accept buyers from surrounding cities or make it exclusively to the town you live in. To not appear as a scammer, make sure you’re using your own photos, instead of stock photos of what you’re selling. Also, be sure to price your items for sale appropriately. 


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