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Rules for Craigslist Transactions…

December 23, 2017


We published the story of a Craigslist transaction that was merely an armed robbery set up.  Our GSL family member narrowly escaped with his life.  A guy who showed up a couple of hours later a few houses down to buy a laptop didn't fare so well.  He caught two to the chest in his bid to save a few bucks on a used laptop.  

Over at The Truth About Guns, Strych9 gave a very good set of rules for CL transactions.

Edited to make it a little more family friendly.


So apparently we need to go the Notorious B.I.G. route and post the 10 Craigslist Commandments here.

1) Location. Know it. Google Street view that shit if you can. Know your areas. Nice neighborhoods vs. bad ones.

2) People. If they won’t actually talk to you on the phone, walk away. Also be alert to changes. You talk to a guy who sounds Asian but a white guy shows up? Make contact by phone, see if when you call the guy you’re watching picks up. If not; skedaddle.

3) Especially for high priced stuff like cars, boats, motorcycles etc. do NOT show up cash in your pocket. Have it on your friend/buddy/wife or in your car but NOT ON YOU. If the first question is “You got the cash?” and your answer is “Yes” trouble is probably about to pop off. I don’t care if it’s $20 or $20K. With larger items like this, bring a Bill of Sale and sign it then go get the money from the bank after your test drive. You don’t have to really go to the bank, the dough can be hidden in your car but FFS don’t let anyone know that up front.

4) Show up early and, as others have said, scout the area. Use some good judgement. If you don’t have good judgement go to Macy’s.

5) Consider what you’re buying and what makes sense under those circumstances. You’re not going to meet in a well lit public area to do a transaction for a large item like a fridge or a motorcycle in most cases. But if someone is super insistent on treating the transaction like it’s for, say, a motorcycle which has to be ridden to/from or trailered and it’s for a small item that’s a red flag. You don’t need to meet them at their pad for a laptop they can move that around pretty easily.

6) Never go alone but make sure the person going with you isn’t going to freeze like the kid in this story. The bigger and more biker-ey looking the person you can bring the better. No one wants to [mess] with you if you bring a couple guys who look like Opie from SOA.


"Opie” from Sons of Anarchy.


7) Know your area codes or look them up. Most scams come from out of your locale area codes.

8) Never accept anything other than CASH. If it ain’t cash it’s a scam. I don’t care how big or legit looking the cashier’s check is, you’re about to get [sexed, and not in a good way]. There are lots of money shuffling scams out there and the one thing about every single one of them that’s true is this: you end up holding the bag. Bring a counterfeit detecting pen too and use it on EVERY bill $20 or larger.

9) Know your valuations, and use proper judgement about them. Like most other things if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. $2500 worth of NIB Makita power tools for $300? At best it’s stolen merchandise but you’re also more to be walking into a robbery. Ditto that guy selling a $8000 bike for $1200. Unless he’s got a legit story about a divorce (this does happen) it’s not legit. Even if the story does hang together, be extra careful about “amazing deals”. Keep a sharp eye out for “baited hooks”.

10) Use your situational awareness and your judgement. Other people hanging around and watching you is a no-go. The guy in front of you may not be the one to watch, keep your head on a swivel and make sure your friend(s) do too. Guy standing in the front yard like this when it’s cold? Sketchy.

3 Responses to Rules for Craigslist Transactions…

  1. johnjohn on December 24, 2017 at 12:40 am

    Bought lots of stuff from Cragslist sellers over the years and never had any problems with any of the transactions…..I don't see Craigslist as any more dangerous than answering an ad from a local newspaper, a Thrifty Nickel flyer or a Cars.Com or Auto Trader seller or someone selling locally from Ebay….I have always maintained situational awareness and employed many of the rules as set forth in this article for ALL transactions, not just Craigslist….now that I have my Illinois CCL , I always carry when I answer an ad from any source…..the one thing I might add is I never go to any large city like Chicago, Indy or St Louis….small towns in fairly upscale neighborhoods are somewhat low risk as  compared to places like Harvey Illinois or the south side of Chicago…..stay safe out there.

  2. Morning Rush on December 24, 2017 at 11:54 am

    CL is a gift for armed robbers.  How many go unreported because Vic’s are too embarrassed to come forward?  Or cops just don’t show up to take a report?

  3. KK on December 24, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Leaves out the most important rule, arrange the transaction at a police station or other similar place. If they don't want to do it, you are better off not following through.