Shopping on Craigslist? Don't Make a Move Without a Reverse Phone Lookup!

What did I tell you? It never takes too long before another Craigslist disaster hits! This time, a mother and a son in Tacoma, WA responded to a used car ad. They arranged for a meeting with the seller and arrived at his apartment complex as agreed, with $3600 cash in hand, ready to purchase a Honda Accord. Except they got attacked with a hammer and robbed, instead; the guy didn't even live in that apartment building, much less have a used car to sell.

Of course, there is a part of me that is gloating. Did they do a reverse phone lookup on the guy they were meeting? No! It's hard to keep commiserating with people who get in trouble due to their trusting nature and lack of preparation. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. C'mon, the crooks and scammers have been fooling us long enough now. I've been practically frothing at the mouth telling everyone not to conduct any transactions that originate on Craigslist, or anywhere else online, for that matter, without checking out the person on the other end first.

Okay, one more time. Read my lips: reverse phone lookup! The drill goes something like this:

  1. Respond to the ad and wait for the person to call you back.
  2. Use the phone number that shows up on your Caller ID to run a reverse phone lookup report.
  3. Get the person's real name, age, address, phone number, and depending on how far you want to dig, even their criminal record, if any.

In the case of the Craigslist robber, mother and son would have found out right away the guy's address differed from the one he gave them and hopefully would have become suspicious. 'Hopefully' being the operative word here, of course.