Craigslist can be a very valuable online community for those who are looking for a variety of options including jobs, products, services, personal connections or housing opportunities. Users of this community can find all of the above listed opportunities and can also meet others and network or discuss important issues. However, because Craigslist is an online community there is always the opportunity for scammers and predators to be lurking on Craigslist.
Craigslist has approximately four billion page views per month and approximately ten million visitors each month. The majority of these visitors likely have no harmful intentions but there is a small percentage, as on any online community, who may be seeking to harm others either physically or financially. There are, however, a number of very worthwhile reasons to use the Craigslist community for finding more information on career possibilities, meeting platonic friends or romantic partners or purchasing products or services. This article will take a look at why Craigslist is so useful but will also offer sage advice on how to protect yourself while using Craigslist.
Why Choose Craigslist for Online Searches
Many might wonder why Craigslist is so appealing. While there are other websites which focus exclusively on job searches, product purchases or meeting potential platonic friends or partners, Craigslist is unique in that it provides one convenient location for all of these types of searches and more. Craigslist might have started as a small operation focusing exclusively on the events going on in the San Francisco Bay Area but has since mushroomed into a much larger community with websites specific to different geographic regions.
The different websites focusing on specific geographic regions makes Craigslist an excellent resource because the users can communicate with those in their area directly instead of having to search through a larger database to find information on people, products and events in their area.
How to Protect Yourself on Craigslist
Craigslist is not anymore dangerous than other online communities. As with an Internet gathering place, the biggest problem is the ease in which individuals can disguise themselves and trick others into believing they are trustworthy when they are not. This applies both to individuals who seek to physically harm others as well as those who have intentions to scam others out of money or tangible items.
One of the best ways to protect yourself on Craigslist, or any online community, is to safeguard your personal information. This means information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, social security numbers and other similar numbers should not be given out unless the individual is positive who will be receiving the information and that it is being transmitted over a secure server. This is important because this information can be used for identity theft or other fraudulent purposes.
Care should also be taken to avoid giving out personal information such as full name, address and phone number. This is especially important because such information could be used by someone with malicious intent to locate an individual.
While name, address and phone number are obvious pieces of information which should be safeguarded, it is important to note other pieces of information could be used to find a person. For example a person can be identified and located by supplying seemingly harmless information such as a first name, where high school was attended and year of graduation. Determined criminals can use this information to deduce the last name of the person which could lead to finding their address and using this information to harm or harass the individual.