How to Recognize Craigslist Scams

Know how to recognize Craigslist scams? There are many real and authentic Craigslist rentals that are posted on the site. Landlords often use Craigslist to post their rentals and source applicants from a different place than a syndication site.

However, there can be fake postings on Craigslist that are rental scams. Learn more about how to spot a false listing in our post.

Listing details

In the following sections, we’ve gone through and highlighted a few examples so you can see what a Craiglist scam listing might look like!

Red flags

  • Price is too good to be true
  • Description reads like a home for sale
  • Poor quality, grainy photos
  • Suspicious text in the description

Ex. Using dots and line breaks to hide paragraph at bottom of page like below.

Inconsistent details – part 1

(ex. Listing in New Hampshire has “St. Petersburg” in the description)

Pro-tip #1

If you suspect a listing is a scam, copy and paste a section of the description into Google surrounded by quotes. If you find listings for other addresses with the same exact wording, it’s most likely a scam.

In this example, the scammer copy and pasted the property description from a rental syndication website featuring a property in Fayetteville, NC:

The scammer also copy and pasted the property description from, a luxury apartment community located in St. Petersburg, FL:


Red flags

Asking for your email address

  • If contacted by email, Craigslist offers masked email aliases for free to protect your identity while allowing users to communicate and messages to be moderated for signs of scams.
  • If someone demands your email address, that is a sign that they want to send something that may otherwise be flagged by Craigslist’s email moderators.

Requires action on your behalf

  • Typically a scammer will ask you to submit an application (with a fee) or run a credit check through a specific link that they provide before giving you any more information about the property.

Refuses to answer basic questions

  • Most reasonable people looking to rent out their property would gladly answer your questions without requiring some further action on your part.

Won’t schedule a showing

  • Again, most reasonable people would gladly schedule a time for you to come and look at the property.


If you feel like you are being pressured to submit personal information or pay a fee for an application, take a step back and consider you might be dealing with a scammer.

Pro-tip #2

If you have a gmail account, you can create an email alias by adding additional characters before the @ symbol.


What does this do?

It still sends the message to your inbox, but if you start receiving a bunch of spam emails from giving out your email address to this particular person, you can create a rule to mark those emails as spam by filtering all incoming messages to that email alias.

Inconsistent details – part 2

Name has changed from“Mary Lisa” to “Jason Roy”.

Pro-tip #3

Use to run a reverse image search of any suspicious images you receive from a potential scammer.

It turns out that “Mary Lisa” is actually a senator in Nebraska named Deb Fischer.

Don’t click these!

Don’t click links like the above in an email. If you hover over this link, it goes to and the link contains a unique offer id.

Looks like it is an affiliate marketing network. Most likely, the scammer gets a commission each time someone uses their link to request a credit report.

What to do if you are dealing with a Craigslist scammer?

Flag their listings

Craigslist makes it easy to flag listings, there is a button at the top of each listing.

Report their emails as spam

Avoiding Craigslist Scams

There you have it! Simple ways you can check out who is posting on Craigslist. These tips are great resources for sussing out any potential scammers!