Craigslist can be good and bad
Craigslist is great for selling items from lamps and chairs to boats and houses, and it has been a majorly disruptive force online, but it has its shady underbelly filled with scammers and spammers. Free services tend to attract trolls and Craigslist is no different, and while the site has put into place better safeguards than it had in its earliest days, it has been a breeding ground for scams.
There are two scams that can be avoided with simple alerts – the revenge post and the stolen deposit post. The revenge post on Craigslist looks something like “Everything free at [address], just walk in,” prompting people to come to your house and take everything, and why not? Someone on Craigslist told them to.
The second scheme is more complex and we’ve witnessed this first hand. Someone will post, “[address] for rent” and you’ll contact the poster, they’ll say that it’s occupied and you can’t look at it yet, but if you want to reserve it, you can put down a deposit and renter’s application. Of course after you do, they’re gone forever and the house was never on the market, nor did the owner or renter know it was listed on Craigslist. Similarly, a home may be posted for sale on Craigslist by a shady agent, but the home is occupied and the agent is using it to generate leads of interested parties so they can say, “shucks, you just missed that one, I sold it an hour ago, but I have another listing just like it I can show you in an hour.”
How to get alerted in case YOUR address pops up
Imagine the horror of seeing your address listed in any capacity on Craigslist. “Party at [your address],” or “free trees in yard at [your address], just dig up,” and so forth can be alarming.
Using IFTTT, a free service, you can instantly set up alerts to avoid your address being drug down into any bizarre Craigslist scheme. First, go to Craigslist in your city and perform a search for your address on the left (don’t go into any category, do it from the main page). Copy and paste that URL, you’ll need to paste it in place of the existing search URL for these alerts:
- Get a TEXT the second your address shows up on Craigslist
- Get a PHONE CALL the second your address shows up on Craigslist
- Get an EMAIL the second your address shows up on Craigslist
It is unlikely your address will ever be abused, but it’s better to be in the know than to be surprised.