Friday, November 11, 2011

Craigslist.org and Your Email Address

Spoiler/summary: don't use the same email address for Craigslist as Facebook.

Recently a friend of mine ran into one of those random crazy people that seem to exist on the internet for the sole reason to make it worse. My pal posted a Craigslist classified ad for some collectable items and received a response shortly after by someone claiming to be interested. Everyone who's posted on Craigslist is used to the classic scammers, however stalkers and creeps are normally safely kept over at the shady dating section that you don't go to... he didn't expect what he got.



On the internet, you're best defense is anonymity to the public. Here are a few common tips:
  • Don't make your profile information public (Facebook, MySpace, etc)
  • Don't post your where-abouts
  • Don't post your phone number or email address
  • Its even been recommended that you don't share photos of yourself
Some of those recommendations are based on the paranoia instilled by the News talking about women being kidnapped because they share there entire lives on the internet. Frankly, due to the small amount of times that happens, I think Facebook is safer than going to public events or the grocery store even. The  only tip above that I follow is not posting my phone number, but I'm in the web/social industry and am kind of expected to participate. Share at your own comfort, but I'd recommend not sharing exact location and phone number.

Going back to the story of my friend, he like most people who use Craigslist used Craigslist's random email address feature (the one that looks like comm-amztx-48936095@craigslist.org). That's great and all, keeps people from collecting your email address for spam easily, but it only one way and only for the first email. When you reply to someone's email to you at that email address, it responds using your normal address and now that person you don't know has your email. He responded and next thing he knew, they guy turns out to be a freak. Worst of all, he has his email address which is the same one my friend uses for Facebook which just supplied the weirdo with his personal info.


Long story short, if you want to keep that distance between you and your internet (and all the creeps that come with it), keep in mind who gets your email address because it could make it very easy for them to get your other information.