Tips for Using Craigslist to Sell Items | How to Avoid Scams

Craigslist is like a modern day internet version of a 16th century Middle Eastern bazaar – you can sell anything and it is always busy.

Craigslist is an extremely useful tool for selling, it is free, you can post to your local area, and it is really easy to use!


Like in that bazaar, there are scammers looking to pick your pocket that you should be on the lookout for, but once you have a little bit of knowledge and experience you can become a safe Craigslist master.

Here are the top 6 tips for using Craigslist to sell items.

6 Top Tips for Selling on Craigslist

1. Do Your Homework and Write a Good Description

Look at online reviews for what you are selling to jog your memory on what to write as a description. Then, when writing the description, include the important details and be honest about any defects.

Craigslist is full of people who are probably selling similar things to you, and the buyer will usually choose the seller with the most informative description.


Make it easy to read and to the point. Include good pictures.

You will stand out and build trust by using subheadings like 'What it is', What is Included', 'Why I am Selling it', ' and 'Specs'.

Include the important information near the top of the article (things like model number, colour and any flaws). Writing with honesty is the best way to build trust, and on Craigslist trust is essential.


2. Create a Craigslist Account and Refresh Items Regularly


You can sell things without an account, but not everything that you post will sell straight away.

If you don't have an account, you will have to rewrite your whole post to try and sell your item again every time your post expires.

In addition, posts can get smothered by newer posts quickly on Craigslist, so you may want to re-post it every week or so to get it back up to the top of the list.

This is much easier to do if you have an account, which allows you to track your posts and see how long they have been live.

3. Price a Little Higher and Use 'OBO'

Be open to bidding. This is Craigslist.

If you put a price about 30% higher than your actual minimum and put an 'OBO' (or best offer), after your stated price, you may very well have someone offer only 10% lower than your stated price and make a tidy sum.

It is not unusual to receive payment for the full price either – many people are uncomfortable bidding and will just pay you top dollar.

4. Watch for Criaglist Scammers[related2][/related2]

Some people are not interested in buying anything from you and are just trying to steal your personal information.

Usually they are trying to hack your email to get into your contact list or to try to steal your identity.

The number one indication that somebody contacting you is a scammer is if you get a message that does not mention the item that you are selling.

The phrase 'Is it still available?' is a giveaway, because they said 'it' instead of the name of your item.

That same message has probably been copied and sent out a thousand times. So only respond to people who show genuine interest in what you are selling.



5. Make Your Email Anonymous and Be Wary With Sharing Personal Information


As a seller on Craigslist, you have the useful ability to make your email anonymous so that people contacting you do not know what your real email is.

They are given an alternative address and their email is forwarded to you from there.

This is an integral security measure that you should take to protect against cyber-crime.

There are also bots that scan posts for phone numbers and emails, so never include your phone number (in numerals) or your email in the post.

If you do choose to include your phone number, you can avoid the bots by writing it in a way that a robot wouldn't understand. For example: "(o one 2) 34 fiVe, six 7 Ate nine."

6. Use Common Sense

If your buyer wants to meet alone in an abandoned car park or late at night to pick up your item, you’ll want to think twice about dealing with such an individual.

Only accept cash or money orders and keep as much personal information to yourself as possible.

If you are swapping an expensive item for a large wad of cash it is a smart idea to organize the meeting in a place with lots of people, (I.e., inside a busy café / Starbucks), and also make sure to bring a friend.

Ask the buyer before meeting how you should recognize them and try to spot them before indicating who you are.

If they are in a group or look suspicious then use some judgement and be careful.

The majority of Craigslist transactions will be fantastic, but, as in life, don't go into a sale with naivety.



I hope these tips help you navigate the wonderful bazaar that is Craigslist.


It is a great tool and a great way to sell things. Use your judgement, do your homework and be honest, and you will turn your old junk into cash in no time! Good luck!


Article by: Ogbe Airiodion