Email, Messaging, & Video Calls Email How to Reply to Craigslist Emails Stay safe when selling goods or making purchases Share Pin Email Print Email Yahoo! Mail Gmail By Karen Marcus Writer Karen Marcus is a former Lifewire writer who has also written for companies like HP, Intel, IBM, Samsung, and others. our editorial process Twitter LinkedIn Karen Marcus Updated November 13, 2019 56 56 people found this article helpful When you use Craigslist to sell or purchase something, you communicate by sending email to the other person in the transaction. But, to protect buyers' and sellers' privacy, Craigslist keeps email addresses hidden. Even given this security system, you might want to take additional precautions when responding to emails from the service. How Contacting Someone on Craigslist Works Craigslist provides a "cover" email address that gets forwarded to the recipient's actual email address. Only Craigslist knows the real email addresses of both parties. This way, if one of the people involved turns out to be untrustworthy, they don't have the other person's email address. When buying or selling items on Craigslist, you communicate through the website, using this two-way email relay. How to Contact Someone on Craigslist When you reply to a post (that is, someone has something for sale which you want to buy), you’ll see an address that looks like: email@example.com. Craigslist gives you the option of copying and pasting this email address into an email application you open on your own, OR you can simply click one of the provided links to easily open your email account. What Gets Sent When You Email Someone on Craigslist When you receive an email that’s responding to an ad, you’ll see an address that looks like: firstname.lastname@example.org. Though you use your regular email program as you normally would, such an email addresses hide the sender's actual email address (such as email@example.com). When posting an ad, always use the Craigslist proxy email address. Additionally, use only your first name in the Contact Name field. Protect Your Privacy Keep in mind that, when you communicate using the proxy email address, your real name still shows up, as does signature data, such as your company name, phone number, etc. If you're concerned about your privacy, consider using an alternate email address, such as a Gmail address you use just for purchases. Other Security Tips Part of the reason Craigslist uses the email system it does is to prevent scams and the distribution of your private information. But it can only do so much. Do your part by remembering not to click on links within any email you receive, unless you trust the sender. Know that emails can be doctored to look like they’re from a particular sender (such as Craigslist). When in doubt, always contact the sender first to confirm validity. Additionally, once you’re in contact with a buyer or seller, you may want to exchange mobile numbers so you can send text messages to make the transaction easier. While the vast majority of Craigslist users are trustworthy, go with your instincts on whether you want to offer this information. Also, remember to use personal security habits like meeting in a neutral, public location, such as a coffee shop or grocery store parking lot.