When you hear Craigslist, you think of buying a car or maybe selling your couch. Sometimes, it’s used to find roommates or jobs, or to get help with certain things. One of these more obscure Craigslist pages is the casual encounters section, where people flock to the site in the hopes of finding no-strings attached sex.
If you’ve ever looked much into this part of the website, you’ll see that some of these ads can be truly outrageous, and it can be a little hard to trust them. Feeling skeptical about Craigslist hookup possibly is totally valid, and you’re right to be suspicious. Craigslist isn’t as safe as it may appear to be, so learn now about the worst scams that have happened for those hoping to hookup.
Dangers of Craigslist Hookups
Using Craigslist as a quick, free dating site may seem convenient, but lots of things could wrong if you don’t do this carefully. You never know the people who are on the other end, and any time you use the internet with the hopes of a personal meeting, you should be sure to verify their identity first.
While some of the hookup ads may be genuine, many of the ones posted or the responses sent to the original posters are scammers. There is a variety of different dangers that come with interacting with a Craigslist hookup scammer. Learn about each one and how you can identify it.
Putting yourself in danger
Agreeing to meet up with someone online is a scary business, especially if you don’t know each other very well first. While these are worst-case scenarios, they do happen. A scammer using Craigslist will dangle the promise of sexual favors to lure you out, and you could be hurt, kidnapped, blackmailed, or some other drastic measure by a dangerous person online. This is a very rare occurrence, but it’s important to have in the back of your mind.
Opening yourself up to viruses
Most Craigslist scammers are automated messages that are sent in response to ads posted asking for a sexual encounter. They promise to meet with you, and at times, their messages will be quite vulgar. The objective for them here is to get you to click on the links they provide, usually to “verify” yourself, and these sites are filled with viruses that aim to suck out your personal information. You’re at risk for stolen identity, financial leaks, and other personal information being available to who knows who.
Sometimes a woman will reply to men who post casual encounter ads and request funds, or other means of payment, in return for her sexual availability. This is a very dangerous, slippery slope to even consider sliding down. Prostitution is illegal, and you never know if the person offering their end of the deal is a legit sex worker or a law enforcement agent posing as one to try and catch a crime in the act. Plus, you’re at risk for legal action if you go through with the transaction, and it also poses a big threat of STDs.
How Craigslist Scams Happen
The bright to these scams is that on Craigslist, it’s pretty upfront and obvious. No one goes on Craigslist fully trusting of the others on the website, thanks to countless stories of deals gone wrong. A scam on Craigslist is far less likely to succeed, and if you stay smart, you can catch one in the process before you’re put into any sort of danger.
Craigslist Hookup Scams
Most of the time, scammers on Craigslist come from the responses as opposed to the actual posting themselves. If you put up an ad requesting sexual company, you’ll probably get a dozen or so responses that all look fairly similar. These are usually automated messages, bots, or just lazy scammers who aren’t trying that hard. Most sensible people won’t even reply to these.
Other times, if it’s a real person on the other end, they’ll be a little more sneaky with their motivations. These are the scary ones. Predators who hope to rape, harm, kidnap, or rob someone will pose as a very interesting, personable human being you want to meet up with. They’ll engage in a very short, passionate text conversation with you while strongly pushing the meet-up.
Craigslist can also be a place for dating and romance scams to take place. We’re looking specifically at the hookup culture and the dangers related to that, but some green card scammers or those hoping to trick you into caring for them enough to send money may use the site as a way to get access to more people.
These scammers will never be from your country, and they often use fake pictures, names, stories, and accounts. Approach these people the same as you would if you encounter them on a dating site.
The Worst Craigslist Scam Scares
In 2015, a 22 year old woman was kidnapped by a man and barely escaped her own death. The two met on Craigslist, where the man posed as a kind gentleman who was sexually and romantically interested in meeting with her. Once they were together in person, authorities described his actions as strangulation and assaulting, and she was then kidnapped and forced into his car. Only by luck did she make it out alive, and it goes to show that Craigslist is a good place for predators and creeps to lurk online waiting for prey.
Another shockingly terrifying story comes from a woman who put a hit out on herself, and started up a relationship with the man who eventually came to kill her. This all took place in the “women seeking men” section of the website, and it’s one of several fatal, scary encounters on the website.
Craigslist was also under intense fire for child prostitution rings, which were cropping up on the causal encounters page in an alarming way. Two women who suffered immense trauma thanks to the convenience of the casual encounters page urged the website to close their sexual ads and change the rules. In 2018, Craigslist shut down their personals section, but it doesn’t stop people from finding a way tp solitit sex on the site.
5 Things You Need To Know Before Using Craigslist For Sex
As intimidating as dating apps and websites can be, Craigslist shouldn’t be your first choice. The dangers related to using their sex ads and the predatory nature of the hookup culture on the online marketplace is enough to deter most people, but if you still feel there is hope for your own success, consider these things before you jump right in.
1. Don’t click on any foreign links, especially if they come from a non-English speaking native
These links, almost always suggesting they lead to a webcam service or verification process, are going to infiltrate your network and steal your personal information. At times, they may look like a Craigslist link, but the website warns against users from trusting anyone who claims they need your account information. Craigslist won’t ask for these details, so you should never provide them.
2. Keep your personal information provided extremely limited
Brief, to the point, and the bare minimum is all you should provide if you’re posting on Craigslist for sex or otherwise. Someone doesn’t need to know your address, your birthday, etc. These people who dig for extra clues as to who you are very early on are dangerous, and you should turn tail and flee immediately!
3. Never meet with someone alone the first time
If you haven’t been able to speak with someone on the phone, or preferably video chat together, it’s a good idea to suggest that your first meeting should take place in a public location first. A real person worth your time won’t argue about this. If things go well, then take it to a private setting, but be smart about it.
4. Always tell someone where you’re going when you have a meet-up
You should already be providing your location details to someone you trust anytime you go somewhere new, or have a date with a stranger. This is just practical, and it keeps everyone involved safe. On Craigslist, this is just very important, maybe more so than usual.
5. Don’t ever accept sex that is offered in return for money, drugs, or other payment options
In the USA, prositution is illegal. Accepting sexual favors as part of a transaction could get you put in prison, or at the very least fined expensively, and may derail your life drastically if you’re caught. Plus, the protstitution business is never ethical. Women involved are often mistreated, trafficked, and in danger as well. You put yourself at risk, and the other person.
6. Perform a Quick Background Check
Before meeting or taking the next steps in your craigslist hookup, make sure to do a quick background check. You can use a service like BeenVerified, where after some basic information of your hookup, the tool will search public records, social media, online images, addresses, and much more.
The service will return all the details on the person you entered so you may double-check if it all checks out.
Tips For Craigslist Safety
For many things, Craigslist is a great, reliable place to get a good deal or make a few bucks. You may find a great roommate on the website, or snag a mini-fridge for half the price, or maybe even meet someone interesting… if you play smart and stay safe about it.
Preventing A Scam
When using Craigslist, you must be vigilant in your instincts about people. Make sure you’re watching out for warning signs, like bad grammar or contradicting stories and promises, when someone replies to your responses. If you’re the one sending out a response to an existing ad, try to check into the validity of the account who posted it.
As you are talking with someone on Craigslist, watch for where their motives seem to lie. Are they a little too eager to promise whatever you want? Do they seem more interested in getting you to do something they want, such as sending a password, picture, or clicking on a link? How genuine does their English seem, and can you think of a reason why they’re choosing to push this with you?
These questions will help you try to separate scammers from real people.
What To Do If You’re Scammed
Sometimes, mistakes are made, and we realize a little too late that we’ve been duped. If this happens to you, don’t beat yourself up about it. Scammers can be sneaky and slip right past our blinders, and they’re good at what they do.
Craigslist doesn’t offer much when it comes to helping out victims, unfortunately, but you can take other steps to try and repair what has happened. If you realize you’ve clicked on a fraudulent link, change your passwords on your accounts quickly, and keep an eye on your financial accounts. You may also want to run an antivirus program on your PC.
Meeting up with someone who robs you, attempts to hurt you, or otherwise is not what they seemed to be should end in you directly reporting the crime to your local police station. It’s also good to provide receipts of your interaction, as well.
If you want to play it the safest, just don’t use Craigslist for hookups. There is tons of different, safer, more successful places to find someone for the night. I have lots of recommendations for safe sites that work great for no strings attached sexual encounters. Tinder is a popular option, and it’s free to use, plus has the potential for a real relationship to stem from even just a quick one night stand. Alternatively, Adult Friend Finder is another great option for quick sex and casual dating.
Whatever site you use, it’s always good practice to do a background check on your date/hook up. We highly recommend BeenVerified.