Craigslist is a classified ad listing website that allows users to post on localized versions of the site to make ads more relevant to the local area of the poster. While Craigslist contains a wide range of categories, some categories are more likely to contain posts by scammers and spambots. To combat this, Craigslist implemented a secret code feature for posting in some sections.
Craigslist uses various security methods to try to keep its visitors safe and eliminate spam. Several sections feature warnings about fraud before entering them, and posting ads to Craigslist requires the entry of CAPTCHA text to prove that the poster is not a spambot. Community members can flag posts as being inappropriate or being spam as well, allowing site administrators to review the posts and remove them if necessary.
When attempting to post in certain categories such as personal ads, Craigslist requires an additional security step: the Craigslist secret code. To post an ad in these categories, you must be signed in to a Craigslist account and enter a special code sent via text messaging or an automated phone call. This method associates you with a real-world phone number to further confirm that you are a real individual and not a spambot. Without the Craigslist secret code, you cannot post in the restricted categories at all.
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Using a Code
During the posting process, you are prompted to enter a telephone number where you can be reached and are asked to select either the text or phone option to receive the code. An automated system sends a text message or makes a phone call to the number provided, giving you a code to enter on the same page in the posting process where the code was requested. Once you enter the code, the ability to post in restricted sections is unlocked on your account and you may continue posting your ad.
A Craigslist secret code allows you to post in restricted sections for 90 days. After 90 days have passed, attempting to post a new listing in a restricted section requires a new code. Once a code has been sent to a phone number, that number cannot be used to request a new code until the current code has expired. Craigslist secret codes are account-specific, so a single code cannot be used to activate posting privileges for multiple Craigslist accounts.