Is Craigslist totally useless now?

About a month ago I tried to buy a car on Craigslist. Every single listing I replied to was a scam. It took me about 5 listings to figure it out. This is what happened:

The listings were written as if they were done by a real seller, and real pictures were used. There was nothing obvious about the ad (such as the car priced suspiciously low etc.) that would raise any flags. When I would reply, the “seller” would give me their number and ask me to “call or text” them to discuss the car, and me coming to see it. When I would call I would get a voicemail box with no message recorded (every time). When I would text, sometimes I would get weird non-sequitur replies almost as if I was interacting with an AI bot. I then never heard from the person again.

…So this goes on for about a week. I then started getting random phone calls from people:

They would ask, “You just called?”

“Wasn’t me,” I would say.

“Your number showed up.”

“Sorry, wasn’t me.”

I was getting several of these calls a day. Then one day I got a call from a guy screaming and cursing at me on the phone. “You (bleep)ing scammer! I’m gonna (bleep)ing kill you, you piece of (bleep)!”

I felt pretty stupid at that point because I realized what was going on. The ads on Craigslist were being used to phish for phone numbers. Scammers are spoofing real numbers (perhaps to circumvent anti-spam measures the telecom companies have implemented?) to spem people. There may be other things they are doing with those numbers too.

So now that I was aware, I continued to respond to ads here and there, and every single one of them was fake. Every. One.

Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago. I ended up getting a car through a friend, and so I decided to try selling my own car on Craigslist. Over the past 2 weeks I’ve received dozens and dozens of emails from “buyers”–and every single one of them is fake. As far as I can tell, they’re all phishing for phone numbers.

It seems to me something fishy is going on. Something that goes deeper than just a phishing scam. It seems to me that Craigslist is purposely being attacked (perhaps with the intent of causing people to lose trust/confidence in the site). Perhaps there is a competitor site that wants to do away with free platforms like Craigslist so they can charge you a fee? Craigslist did charge a $5 fee to list, but that didn’t deter any of the fake car ads. At any rate, imo, Craigslist is no longer usable. It’s been completely overrun.

Anyone else experience this problem with Craigslist? And what can we do about it? Anything? Any other alternative sites with better security?


The content was posted by TruthTeller0010101 on 2021-10-11 23:35:03 via reddit

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7 Comments

  1. wcspegasus says:

    For some things, yes it is largely useless these days. Usually cars, real estate, jobs, electronics, and popular collectibles. Unfortunately most of the other platforms aren’t any better. The scammers are just overrunning everything in certain categories right now.

    It’s still somewhat usable for the more niche hobbies and low value items, but even there you have to be extremely careful these days.

  2. Spuds4Duds says:

    Since it is free and not much verification done the scammers have overrun it. You can’t even give items away on it without the send code to prove you are real scammers responding.

  3. windisfun says:

    Use the Craigslist email. If there isn’t one on the ad it’s a scam.

    Most of the scam ads I see have a phone number on the picture.

    They also copy paste other ads and put them way down on the listing description. They do that to have it show up in as many searches as possible.

  4. I made a CL scam trait list for what I see on listings-
    Ads that put their email address in the text or photo
    Just having one picture, usually its small.
    Not very much information.
    Random characters in the ad or the posting.
    The price is too low.
    The price is 1020, 1060, 1080 not 1000
    There is a frame around the photo
    You can right click on a photo and search google for it- to see if they took it from another online ad.
    The picture is out of area or not in season.

  5. Tennassegal says:

    Most of the scammers went to Facebook and OfferUp from Craigslist

  6. DR_Timefox says:

    My own landlord was telling me recently of an ad on Craigslist for my building advertising apts. That was placed there by a scammer. They did managed to get the ad taken down, but still.

  7. TruthTeller0010101 says:

    What if there was a foreign government who hated the United States, and was engaging in psychological warfare against us–with the goal of sowing anger and frustration with our institutions?

    The Chinese have whole warehouses of people engaged in the spread of propaganda and the quashing of dissent colloquially called “The 50 cent Army”. Thousands of people at least and perhaps even tens or hundreds of thousands of people at this point. Would it be a stretch for some of these people to be engaged in other forms of warfare?

    Social network sites would be a nice target; to disrupt our ability to trade among ourselves, and to create distrust among our communities–“Everybody’s a scammer!” Craigslist would just be a microcosm of a larger campaign that would be targeting everything they can throw a monkey wrench into.

    I believe most of these “soldiers”, or chaos-agents, are well-trained in English; however, with a few of them, their English and Grammar was off just enough that I surmise their origin was mainland China. I also don’t think any possible revenue from these phone number phishing “scams” would justify the effort. I think they are merely pretending to be scammers, but their real purpose, again, is to sow frustration and distrust among ourselves. I think the United States is currently under attack by China, and they are attacking us everywhere in every way–from the news we watch, to the entertainment we seek, to Hollywood, to our politicians who they’ve blackmailed or bribed, to even the social network platforms we use.

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