Use Craigslist Responsibly by Using Reverse Phone Lookup
Ever since the Craigslist killer, the world - and the Internet - is abuzz with negative talk about Craigslist. It's understandable that people would panic and politicians would want to be seen to be doing something about the issue. The reasonable solution is somewhere in between: just get to know the ad poster a little better. How, you ask? Why, through a reverse phone lookup, of course. But it's never that simple; or is it?
This week, three state attorneys general and representatives from six other states are trying to force Craigslist to permanently remove the site's erotic services section. South Carolina's Attorney General demanded that within 10 days Craigslist remove "the portions of the Internet site dedicated to South Carolina ... which contain ... solicitation of prostitution". If not, Craigslist executives face "criminal investigation and prosecution". Connecticut's top prosecutor even threatened to unite with other states' prosecutors to try and change the law.
Current federal law grants immunity to such sites for posting content they didn't create. Whether Craigslist can be held liable for having ads for illegal services on its site or not, politicians should realize that they can't control societal plagues with prohibition - anyone interested enough will just find another source. The government can't protect citizens against their will - adults should be educated about resources to help them manage their own safety where feasible.
There are methods simple and effective enough, that are a must for anyone contemplating meeting with a stranger through Craigslist or any other similar site. Skipping the omniscient reverse phone lookup is not an option. All you must do is respond to the ad, get the poster to return your call, and run the phone number that shows up on your Caller ID through a reverse phone lookup. This way, you can find out this person's real name and address and study his/her criminal record - as it's likely to be there - and determine if it's for prostitution or a convicted killer who may be a threat to you. Make use of tools that already exist to make informed decisions!