Giving your Phone Number out on Craigslist?

Mai72

Lifer
Sep 12, 2012
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I know that many people here have used Craigslist in the past, and so I'd like to get your opinion on this matter.

I am selling a gaming laptop on Craigslist (Acer Helios 300). I just posted it tonight, and within 30 minutes I got my first response. This guy wants my phone number so we can text, or talk on the phone. Now, I don't mind this type of interaction. And, in fact I'd rather talk 1-1 with the potential buyer. My huge concern are the scammers who use Craigslist to fish for new emails and phone numbers. I'm also using a gmail account that I made just for Craigslist. Should I give out my phone number, or just stick to email? Also, what about having the person come to my home? Yea, I know that meeting in a public place is idea, but I don't feel like lugging around this gaming laptop. I'd much rather show it in the home than in some busy store like Walmart, or Starbucks. It would be very akward IMO. And finally, I don't want to purchase a burner phone just for this transaction. I don't use Craigslist much anyway.

Thanks.
 

Pohemi420

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2004
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I've given my phone number to potential buyers on Craigslist for a few higher-ticket items, but it was only after repeated emails back and forth, and an educated guess about the validity of the person emailing me.

I have a dedicated email addy that I use only for Craigslist. If the first message I get from someone is asking for my phone number? Nope. I also won't reply to emails that only ask a question that was clearly answered in the listing.

I don't care if someone's first email says they'll buy it right then with cash in hand. If they can't be bothered to use email to demonstrate that they can properly communicate (and aren't a scammer), than I won't waste my time.

I'm sure I've lost a few potential sales because of it, but I don't care. I have no patience for people's idiocy, and interactions through email help me to weed it out before I give them my number or agree to meet with them. I consider it a buffer.
And, do you have to pay for a number that you will be using?
No. Not sure if you can text with it, but there are no charges for google voice afaik.
 
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LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
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Ca


Can you also text on Voice? And, do you have to pay for a number that you will be using?
Yes. You can go to google.com/voice in a browser and you can select text and it'll work like you are using a web site chat. It's very easy.

It's free and only cost money if you want to change your phone number after the first one they give you. They even let you search via a certain area code or city you live in.
 

Lost_in_the_HTTP

Diamond Member
Nov 17, 2019
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I have an $800 yard tool widget listed. Specified email contact only. Got two, replied, never heard back. Wasn't sure if they were going through or not. Third one inquired, I replied, got a response and went from there. Conversation seems OK.

Holidays, so won't be anything further until Tuesday. Dude is 80 miles away and willing to travel. Widget is over 700 pounds and 6 feet long, so no shipping. I'll load it up and take to a meeting place.

Not a fraud prone tech item, but still makes you wonder about cash, checks, whatever.

------------


OP, you really don't want anyone you don't know coming to your home.

Not sure why a notebook would be hard to carry, but that's not the kind of thing I would list.
 

Lost_in_the_HTTP

Diamond Member
Nov 17, 2019
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Probably need to give Dude a phone number on next contact. But how do these phony phone numbers work? Can you still use your phone and the other number?
 

deadlyapp

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2004
6,264
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The current scam on craigslist and most other buying sites is they ask for your phone number, text you a code (that is used to activate a new google voice number) and they use that google voice number to scam.

As others have said, make a new google voice number if you can in your area and use that if you want to really see, and if they do text you a code then just ignore it and block them.

I regularly use a phone number on craislist but it's always my GVoice and never my actual number.

Edit: a few other things - yes the GVoice number will simply forward calls and texts to your personal phone. The texts come through as emails and you can simply respond to the email and it appears to them as a text, and it doesn't stamp it "Google Voice" or anything that would indicate.

If you are selling a higher value item, I would definitely not meet at your house. Somewhere public preferably, a starbucks or other coffee shop would be a good neutral place. I never try to meet at my house unless it's a very large item, and if so I never let them past my garage or driveway.

A laptop is not unnecessarily inconvenient to go somewhere public with.
 
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LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
11,518
668
126
Probably need to give Dude a phone number on next contact. But how do these phony phone numbers work? Can you still use your phone and the other number?
Several ways. You create an account and you can have it redirect to your actual phone number. You can use the site for text messaging or use the app. Also, you can call your own GV number, enter a pin, enter the phone number you want to call, and your call will be routed through google voice and show as coming from the number you made. Just do some research. You can set it up as needed.

If you start getting random calls or run in to an asshole, you can shut the whole thing down or just turn off the forwarding service and it'll be over with.
 

Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
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Probably need to give Dude a phone number on next contact. But how do these phony phone numbers work? Can you still use your phone and the other number?

Go to the Play/App store for your smartphone, download the Textnow app and follow the steps to set up a free local phone number.

That's about it... it works the same as your primary phone number and aside from some advertising in the "free" version there's really no downside.

Google voice is great and I use it myself however it exposes personal info pretty much no matter what you do.
 

LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
11,518
668
126
Go to the Play/App store for your smartphone, download the Textnow app and follow the steps to set up a free local phone number.

That's about it... it works the same as your primary phone number and aside from some advertising in the "free" version there's really no downside.

Google voice is great and I use it myself however it exposes personal info pretty much no matter what you do.
Google Voice does not show personal information if you use it correctly and set it up right.
 

Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
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Google Voice does not show personal information if you use it correctly and set it up right.

How optimistic of you! :D

Not going into how I know but this is not strictly accurate unless you are using a device with zero connection to your identity AND were able to "verify" the account with a phone number (and IP) that isn't traceable to you in any way.

To be fair however texting apps like Textnow are NOT really anonymous either unless run on a cash-paid "burner" phone and even then caution is required.
 
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LikeLinus

Lifer
Jul 25, 2001
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How optimistic of you! :D

Not going into how I know but this is not strictly accurate unless you are using a device with zero connection to your identity AND were able to "verify" the account with a phone number (and IP) that isn't traceable to you in any way.

To be fair however texting apps like Textnow are NOT really anonymous either unless run on a cash-paid "burner" phone and even then caution is required.
As stated, once you have the phone number set up with Google, you can call your own GVoice number, hit # or * and it will ask for your PIN number. From there, you can dial an outside number. The phone call originates from the Google Voice number and the end user doesn't see your real phone number.

Plus, anyone who starts a sentence with "I know how but I can't tell"....is usually a load of BS. This is for Craigslist and not to avoid the federal government. So unless you do something highly illegal, it's as anonymous to the end user as it needs to be. :rolleyes:
 

Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
22,983
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As stated, once you have the phone number set up with Google, you can call your own GVoice number, hit # or * and it will ask for your PIN number. From there, you can dial an outside number. The phone call originates from the Google Voice number and the end user doesn't see your real phone number.

Plus, anyone who starts a sentence with "I know how but I can't tell"....is usually a load of BS. This is for Craigslist and not to avoid the federal government. So unless you do something highly illegal, it's as anonymous to the end user as it needs to be. :rolleyes:

I COULD tell you but I'm not going too! ;)

I've had GV as long as its existed ... pretty sure I know how it works.


(And if I were up to anything "highly illegal" I certainly wouldn't post about it here or anywhere else!)

 
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Lost_in_the_HTTP

Diamond Member
Nov 17, 2019
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Regardless of whether or not you're passing personal info the the potential buyer, you ARE passing personal information to the Great Evil Alphabet Goog which is not something I'm keen to do.
 

skyking

Lifer
Nov 21, 2001
20,179
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years ago I got a burner phone for $25 to sell an RV on CL. It was a great idea but it came to an unfortunate end. I lost track of it in my gear while working in Mount Rainier National Park, then it fell out and my track found it. It got damn hot in the process of dying, it really was a burner phone.
 

Pohemi420

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2004
4,927
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You don't have to share your real phone number. On the internet you can easily find fake phone numbers.
If you're using the previously mentioned phone number in order to speak to a local Craigslist buyer, what good will a fake number do you? Read the thread next time instead of responding to one post in it.

:rolleyes:
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
33,132
5,050
126
OP, you really don't want anyone you don't know coming to your home.
A few years ago I listed in FOR FREE a really old, pretty heavy compressor that had been sitting in my garage since I purchased the house, now some 20+ years ago. I think it was Craigslist. A guy responded who turned out to be great, we had a long conversation and he took away the compressor in his truck. I never felt nervous about it, at least don't remember feeling that way.

I bought a used "MINT" zoom lens for my DSLR in 2010 that turned out to be great, don't remember but was maybe Craigslist too. Met and sat at an outside table of a coffee shop ~20 miles from me, and I handed him the US dollars. It's still my favorite lens, I just leave it on the Pentax Kx body: Pentax SMC DA 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 ED AL IF, at the time it was already discontinued.
 
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Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
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I never felt nervous about it, at least don't remember feeling that way
"Nervous" about bringing random CL dude to your house = common sense.

Be happy you didn't learn a harsh and expensive life-lesson and next time meet in a public place with lots of witnesses.

The same also applies to meeting random CL sellers btw.... at the VERY LEAST bring along a burly friend!



And for a regular joe tracking down who is behind one of those "texting-app" numbers with any kind of accuracy is extremely difficult because they often allow users to change numbers frequently ... it's not something a "quick Google" will come up with usually.

However if you do anything serious and the police get involved you can count on a cop-knock on your door at some point especially with Google Voice.

Some SMS apps are more "fly by night" far as stuff like complying with LE requests for information like IP address/legit phone number BUT I wouldn't bank on that protecting you.


EDIT: Even if you buy a pre-activated "burner phone" with cash and from a place completely out of view of any random cameras, you STILL need to make sure not to ever do anything like "wifi" based calling or it was all a just a waste of time if you make yourself "worth the trouble".
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
33,132
5,050
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"Nervous" about bringing random CL dude to your house = common sense.

Be happy you didn't learn a harsh and expensive life-lesson and next time meet in a public place with lots of witnesses.
It was a freebie, what was there to fear? I gave him something I wanted to get rid of. He's going to rob me? :rolleyes:

Besides, getting that thing to a public place with lots of witnesses would have been a PITA. That mofo was hell of heavy, I'm not sure I could have gotten it in the trunk of my car even if it did fit.
 
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UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
15,652
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It was a freebie, what was there to fear? I gave him something I wanted to get rid of. He's going to rob me? :rolleyes:
Sure. Based on news stories over the years, it has happened plenty of times to people all over the country.

You just never know the person's background / intentions when they are a complete stranger.

Now odds are the person is decent, but I'm not rolling the dice on it being one of the psychos.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
33,132
5,050
126
Sure. Based on news stories over the years, it has happened plenty of times to people all over the country.

You just never know the person's background / intentions when they are a complete stranger.

Now odds are the person is decent, but I'm not rolling the dice on it being one of the psychos.
I live in a residential neighborhood. People come and go on the sidewalk all day. Any of those could choose to confront me with hijinks. Why would a guy I contacted on CL come over, there being nothing of value involved and have an intention to mess with me? If I lived out in the sticks, sure, I can understand maybe, but where I live? Seems absurd.
 

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