How to Report Fraud on Craigslist

By Andrew Tennyson

Online classifieds sites such as Craigslist are often the target of scammers and fraudsters. If you've been affected by or noticed fraud on Craigslist, there are a number of different steps you can take to report it. Craigslist has a flagging process through which you can flag a fraudulent ad for removal. If the fraud has already taken place, you can report the fraud to Craigslist, your local police, the Internet Crime Complaint Center or the FTC.

Step 1

Flag the ad you believe to be fraudulent by clicking the "X Prohibited" link located at the top of the ad.

Step 2

Send Craigslist the details of the fraud, particularly if you feel it's part of a broader scam (link in Resources).

Step 3

Contact your local police department if you were defrauded by a local individual you met in person. Police have limited jurisdiction to take action against fraudsters operating outside of your region.

Step 4

Contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center. The IC3 is a joint effort between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. The organization has a dedicated tool via which you can file a complaint (link in Resources). To file a complaint, provide you name, address, phone number and specific details about the fraud.

Step 5

Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission by calling their toll-free hotline at 877-382-4357 or by visiting the FTC Complaint Assistant website (link in Resources).

Tips & Warnings

  • One of the simplest ways to protect yourself against fraud on Craigslist is to deal locally with people who are willing to meet in person. Do not wire funds via MoneyGram, Western Union or similar services as they are often used by scammers. Never disclose your bank account, credit or debit card numbers, eBay or PayPal accounts to people on Craigslist. Be wary of transactions involving escrow services.
  • Sellers who offer to "guarantee" your transactions are often scammers. Never submit to background or credit checks until you have met with a person locally. Even then, do a little research into the person and ask for references before providing any sensitive personal or financial information.