How to Run a Craigslist Background Check

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Figuring out how to run a background check on someone you found on Craigslist can be fairly tricky. Whether you plan on meeting in person or just conducting a transaction online, things are not always clear. Postings are made anonymously, as Craigslist will always generate a unique email address to mask a poster’s real email. With so much limited information, how do you go about verifying this person?

First, you must realize that when you respond to a Craigslist posting, the poster will be able to see the email address you sent the response from. However, at this point, you do not yet have their real email address.

Step 1: Start an email conversation

Your response should be crafted in a way that warrants another email response from the poster. For example, ask a question about the product. Just make sure that the email conversation continues. Once the poster responds, you will have an actual email address.

Step 2:  Run an Email Search

Now that you have an email, run it through BeenVerified’s social search feature. This will show all results related to this email address, including social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Warning! Often times, a poster may use an alternative email address that is intentionally not associated with anything. If your email search comes up blank, you can be certain this is the case. Even if you get results, you should really think about if the information you are getting makes sense given the particular circumstance.

If you are unable to find any information through an email search, you should immediately reply to the post and request information that can help verify the user. Be upfront about it and ask for a full name, address or phone number. These three pieces of information should help you find the correct record.

Step 3: Evaluate things

Did you discover a real name for the person through an email social search? There’s usually enough information within the public portions of a Facebook or LinkedIn profile even if most of the information is kept private.

Once you have a list of possible results, think carefully about what information should make sense. For example, what approximate age do you think this person may be or what exact city or town do they live in? This information should come up on the “teaser results.” If you are able to find a name and state (city would be even better) then go ahead and search that in BeenVerified’s main search.

​Step 4: Conduct further research

Look clearly at the “people search” section of a BeenVerified report. Are you confident that you have identified the correct person? If yes, go ahead and review the report in its entirety. The address should match up to the address given by the poster. Does it? If not, it may just mean that this person has only recently moved to this location. Ask them to confirm before going on.

Step 5:  Criminal History and Bankruptcies, Judgments & Liens

Next, run a criminal history background check, as well as a check on bankruptcies, judgments, and liens. You may not think you need this information, but it’s actually pretty important. Knowing these details before you put your credit card through the ringer or meeting the person in real life ensures that you don’t get caught up in something messy. So, if they were arrested for fraud in the past, you’ll know to be a little careful if you are conducting a transaction.

Step 6: Think about next steps

When it comes down to it, make sure you take all the necessary steps before you commit to anything. Negotiate with someone you trust. If you’re meeting the person offline, be sure to bring someone along. Further, always inform someone close to you that you plan on visiting this person. You can even send them a copy of the BeenVerified background check so they know all details, and be sure to let them know the location. The bottom line here is to just be smart and use your common sense. If something doesn’t seem right, then it’s probably not.

Have you performed a BeenVerified background check on someone you met on Craigslist? What was the outcome?

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