Craigslist is a website that allows people to post classified ads for goods or services that they want to buy or sell. Due to a large number of spam ads being posted on the website the company implemented an account verification system for service ads. Craigslist also restricted each account to posting only 3 ads every 48 hours.

To have an active Craigslist account you need an email account, a IP address, and a phone number that has been call back verified. If these three do not match Craigslist will not allow you to create an account.

For spammers the first two are easy to create. They can create Gmail or Hotmail accounts, and by routing through different internet servers have unique IPs associated with each email account. What they have difficulty doing is by passing the phone number call back verification.

When creating a Craigslist account an automated system will call you back to the phone number that you provided. The automated system will says "This is Craigslist calling your pin number is 12345." You have to enter this pin number to activate the Craigslist account online.

Spammers don't want their phone number linked to the spam Craigslist account. Also posting hundreds of spam ads on Craigslist will require hundreds of phone numbers.

The Do Not Call List Scam

A spammer call you and says:

This Steve Harperson calling from the Canadian National Do Not Call List. We would like to ensure that your phone number is included in the National Do Not Call List. In a few minutes after I hang up a lady will call you and provide you with an activation number. I will then call back and if you provide me with that activation number you will be added to on the Canadian National Do Not Call List.
The spammer then enters your phone number on the Craigslist account activation page. You will get a call from 310-928-7055 which is the Craigslist activation call center. The automated message will give you an activation pin number.

After you hang up the spammer will call back and ask for the pin number. If you give him the number your telephone number is now associated with the spam Craigslist account that he has created.

From talking to people who have been targeted the spammers will be persistent. They will call back even if you hang up or tell them to get lost.

Your best bet is don't agree to have anyone call you back. Tell them that you have their phone number (this number changes as they route through different telephone exchanges) and that you will be filing a report with the police.

How Much is a Craigslist Phone Number Verified Account Worth?

Millions of people use Craigslist every day.

A Craigslist PVA account is worth a lot to a spammer. They can use the account to post fake ads, sell stolen goods or perpetuate fraud, and your phone number is associated with this activity.

Craigslist PVA accounts, in large amounts, sell online for $5.00 to $6.00 each. Good money for 10 minutes of social engineering.

Victims Stories
Suri - 28 Nov 2008
I got a call from this number , prior to this I got a call from 919-674-0114 and they said I will get a call and a 5 digit activation code will be left in your voice mail, and within 5 minutes I will call you back and you please provide the activation number, so that no unsolicited calls will be made to you in future. They said the US Govt's DNC has chosen craig's list to provide this service and I will not be charged a penny for this service

Anonymous - 1 Jul 2009
I got a call around 2.30 PM today. The caller identified him as David Kingston from FCC and informed me that they will send a 5 digit code for stopping marketing calls. In the next minute, I received a call from the number 310-928-7055 (an automated message) that gave a code (Some where in the message, I heard Craigs List). After a minute, the same caller called me to confirm the code (identified himself as David Kingston of FCC again). When I asked him about the relationship between FCC and Craigs List, he started threatening me that he can levy a penalty as I am rejecting a call from FCC. I asked him to stop calling me and hung up. He called me again and asked the reason for disconnecting my call. I was really annoyed and asked him to stop calling me.

42 comments

  1. Anonymous // January 13, 2010 at 4:57 PM  

    I just got the same exact call that is described above. They were very polite and convincing but there is no way a legitimate company would use an the name of another prominent company in their email address and code verification!!!

  2. Gary // March 6, 2010 at 4:03 PM  

    my wife got exactly similar call and guy said he was from CRTC and was offering DO NOTCALL registry free and that the code os being given by the government he mentioned 1888-232-5322 as tollfree and crtc.gc.ca as website. He took the 5 digit code after calling back and said to use it when some telemrketeer calls. Shall I report it to police or anything.we live in surrey,bc and theguy who called has east indian accent and called himself Robin.

  3. Anonymous // March 24, 2010 at 2:05 PM  

    Just had this happen to me today. The guy "Peter" spoke with an East Indian accent as well and the background noise was as if he was in some "boiler room" with many other people doing the same. So happy to have not given him the code, found it weird when the automated lady called saying that she was from Craig's List. I mean come on- Craig's List??? So that rang a bell in my head that something wasn't right. The guy was getting all uptight, saying he NEEDED the #, it would expire in 15 minutes. So I got just as uptight with him and hung up. The idiot called me back and pressed me for the # again. I told him to let it expire. Googled my inquiry and found this site! Thanks!

  4. Anonymous // March 27, 2010 at 2:14 PM  

    It happened to me just now. I got a call from guy name "Martin" with an East Indian accent with some background noise as if he was in some "boiler room" with many other people doing the same. It does not make sense to me by Canadian gov will waist money distributing pin numbers. I just hanged up this "Martin" guy. I did receive call from Craigslist and same story, Mr. Martin called me back asking the pin number...

  5. Anonymous // March 31, 2010 at 12:30 PM  

    just got a call from a guy with an east indian accent who told me the same thing and then a few minutes later a lady phoned and gave me the activation number stating not to disclose it to anyone ,so when he called back a minute later ,asking for the number ,I refused to give it to him.he became insistant when I refused and said I would receive telemarketing calls .glad I found this post and didn't give him the number.

  6. Anonymous // April 16, 2010 at 8:24 PM  

    I got a call from an indian sounding guy as well mentioning the do not call registry and unfortunately got taken into giving the 5 digit number to him. Can this be used in a negative way against me or the worst is me getting banned from Craigslist?

  7. Anonymous // April 21, 2010 at 6:37 PM  

    I just got the same thing happen to me. He said his name was John. When I heard craigslist, it did not make sense to me. When they called back and asked for the pin, I hung up. They then called back twice. The second time leaving a weird message telling me I was a lovely lady. I then called CRTC and they told me of the scam and to call phonebusters.

  8. Anonymous // April 24, 2010 at 1:55 PM  

    Was phonebusters able to help you with this?

  9. Anonymous // May 22, 2010 at 3:27 PM  

    Same happened hear, Got a call from a guy, had no accent from what i could tell, Said he was from the gov't do no call list on behalf od craigs list and somone will give a pin which he will verify. I asked him who he was, he just repeated the same thing again, I asked him to call later and again ignores me and just repeats the same thing. Now im getting suspicous, he seemed to be in a hurry, so i agree. Get automated call, record the pin. He calls back, i ask craigslist relationship with the gov't. makes up some mumbo jumbo and insists on the pin. I hang up, he calls back, i dont answer phnone any more

  10. Anonymous // May 25, 2010 at 10:35 AM  

    It just happened to me too on May 5th 2010 around afternoon. Guy identified as Indian name Harry and gave the same instruction. I followed it and gave the activation number. Then i read this forum immediately called Phone busters and sought advise. They advised me to report to craiglist thru website with phone number, activtion number. But i didn't received any acknowledgment. Hope so my landline Phone number gets disassociated from all the fraudulent or scam accounts.

  11. Anonymous // June 3, 2010 at 9:25 PM  

    This just happened to me June 2, the guy sounded legit and it should have clicked that it was a scam but I was tired. Has anyone has any negative results? Like charges or something? If the worst thing is banned off craigslist that would be great, but has anyone in this situation got screwed over in some way?

  12. SL // June 15, 2010 at 3:14 PM  

    This happened to my wife yesterday. Same story, guy with an Indian accent claiming to be calling from the Government Do Not Call List. Then she got a call from Craigslist. Soon after that the guy called again asking for the code. But she refused to give the code to him. He tried again but she didn't respond. I informed CRTC and PhoneBusters. Both say that they are not investigating. I think non-investigation of these matters would lead to more incidents like this.

  13. Anonymous // June 22, 2010 at 6:46 PM  

    I received a call from 1-310-928-7055 on June 2, 2010. It kind of put my guard up because I wasn't aware that the crtc.gc.ca would call you now.
    When I first got the call it my call display showed a blocked number. When the guy explained 'who he was' and that he was from the national do not call list (telling me that I have recently registered my number there), they are not calling those that registered to do this set up code for unwanted calls.

    I kept asking him why the number was blocked if they're legit and he said it's because there are many spammers out there copying them...so they block the number for that reason....um, okay??

    Then he said, 'okay, I'll call you back with this PIN code that you key in after the call and everytime you receive a telemarketing do not call number which is to report them.

    Whatever....it wasn't making much sense to me and was not comfortable keying in any number. So he called back and made sure the number was unblocked and it was this 310-928-7055 number. Needless to say no one at home wanted to answer...a message was left with the PIN code.

    I have not used this PIN code nor ever will especially after researching and found this information. I'm so glad I listened to my instincts. This number should be reported to the National Do Not Call List https://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/nrt-ntr-eng and to PhoneBusters 1-888-495-8501 (http://www.phonebusters.com/)

    Thank you all for reporting your experience...glad to know what this call really was.

  14. Anonymous // June 22, 2010 at 6:48 PM  

    I received a call from 1-310-928-7055 on June 2, 2010. It kind of put my guard up because I wasn't aware that the crtc.gc.ca would call you now.
    When I first got the call it my call display showed a blocked number. When the guy explained 'who he was' and that he was from the national do not call list (telling me that I have recently registered my number there), they are not calling those that registered to do this set up code for unwanted calls.

    I kept asking him why the number was blocked if they're legit and he said it's because there are many spammers out there copying them...so they block the number for that reason....um, okay??

    Then he said, 'okay, I'll call you back with this PIN code that you key in after the call and everytime you receive a telemarketing do not call number which is to report them.

    Whatever....it wasn't making much sense to me and was not comfortable keying in any number. So he called back and made sure the number was unblocked and it was this 310-928-7055 number. Needless to say no one at home wanted to answer...a message was left with the PIN code.

    I have not used this PIN code nor ever will especially after researching and found this information. I'm so glad I listened to my instincts. This number should be reported to the National Do Not Call List https://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/nrt-ntr-eng and to PhoneBusters 1-888-495-8501 (http://www.phonebusters.com/)

    Thank you all for reporting your experience...glad to know what this call really was.

  15. Anonymous // July 16, 2010 at 12:55 AM  

    We own a restaurant and received a call from a John Miller from the City of Glendale Health department. He said that the health inspector would be coming tomorrow between 4-5pm to follow up on 2 complaints. First, I couldn't understand a word he was saying clearly because he had a heavy East Indian accent. He said that he would hang up and I will receive an automated call with an inspection ID# that I was required to give to the health inspector. So I hung up and answered the automated call and wrote down the ID# which was given by Craigslist. I then called the phone number that John Miller gave me and it was not a valid phone #. John called back shortly and asked for that code. I asked what were the complaints about and again where was he calling from. Then I told him that I called back that # he left earlier and that was not a valid #. He then said I must have dialed the wrong # and gave me another #. He answered my questions then wanted the ID#. I gave him the # then he said that it didn't work. He then asked me for another phone # or cell #. I said this is the only # for the restaurant and there is no other phone. He insisted that I ask anyone for a cell # so he could text me the ID#. I told him that this sounds fishy and I'm not giving you any information without speaking to my manager. I asked him to call back but he never did.

  16. Paull // August 24, 2010 at 6:12 PM  

    I received a call this morning, it went something like this: "I am calling from the Canadian Government and we would like to remove your number from the do not call list" I had trouble understanding this person since he was speaking in a very thick Indian accent; I was thinking to myself, this doesn't sound right...he said that someone would call back in an automated voice with a PIN#. I said no thanks, I'm not interested..sure enough a call came in a few minutes later from 310-928-7055...i answered and heard the voice say the pin#...i didn't bother writing it down or remembering it...the Indian guy calls back and asks me for the ping# i said i don't know and I don't have it...i said my phone number is being transferred and he hung up...good riddance :)

  17. Anonymous // September 8, 2010 at 2:56 PM  

    I just got the exact same call today. Some Indian sounding lady read of my phone number and mailing address and offered me to take me off a list that offered my details to marketing calls. I told her that I was on the US Don Not Call list and did not care. I asked her how I knew she was really calling from Craigslist to which she stated that I would get a voicemail or text message with a code that I was to provide to her. I said thanks but no thanks and hung up.

  18. Anonymous // October 11, 2010 at 7:39 PM  

    I got the same call this afternoon. Fortunately, I gave him the incorrect code and he tried to verify it on the spot. That's when it hit me that this is too fishy. I asked him for verification of this process and he told me to research it on the fcc.gov site. I told him I was on the site and that he should guide me to where this addition to registry process is described. That's when he changed his story and said he was from the backend team and they can add me to the list immediately while doing it from the website will take several weeks. I immediately hung up and said I changed my mind and i do not want to be added to the registry so he stopped calling me.

  19. Anonymous // October 12, 2010 at 5:48 PM  

    I received a call today at work. I work in a bakery. He said he was from the health department and that someone would be coming by on Thursday for a check, then gave me the instructions about receiving the phone call with the code. This raised three alarms for me: One, the caller ID said "California" and I live in Oregon. Two, the health department doesn't call to warn you they are coming, and Three, wholesale bakeries get inspected by the department of agriculture, not the health department! When I got the call from craigslist, the first thing it said was not to give the number to anyone. I knew this was weird right away, because I use craigslist all the time, and I know they have nothing to do with the health department. When he called back for the code I asked why the call was from craigslist. He said not to worry about that (classic thing for a scam artist to say) and that it was the company they hire to make the automated phone calls. I hung up, as I knew this was a lie. He tried to call back but I knew it was him (thank goodness for call id!)and didn't pick up. Hopefully he won't try anymore.

  20. Anonymous // December 20, 2010 at 5:51 PM  

    same exact happened to me, the call was very convincing and the only trigger event that stopped me from giving the 5 digit code was that the code came from craiglist which raised alarms. when the Spammer called back, I refused to provide the number, but they were very determined to keep asking for it. Do Not Fall For This Trap!!!!

  21. Hari Narayanan // January 12, 2011 at 5:17 PM  

    I received a call from someone called David Brown from FCC (with a thick Indian accent and conversation manners) telling me that there will be a subsequent voice call giving me a code that I need to pass back to him. This will supposedly stop tele-marketing calls. I played along. What followed was a call from Craigslist giving me an authentication code for validating my phone. When the person called me back, I told him I spoke to the actual David Brown and this call was being recorded ;). He hung up right away. Obviously, he wanted to use my phone number in his Craigslist account.

  22. Anonymous // January 28, 2011 at 11:57 AM  

    They tried this on me as well. I made some pretty hilarious comments and some very rude ones and the guy didn't react at all. He called back probably 15 times until I left the line off the hook. It was only fun for so long but use your common sense for this one. When the activation number is from craigslist and tells you in the message not to give the number to anyone and that if someone is trying to get the number its a scam, that should clue you in that they are no good tricksters. I hope he calls again tomorrow so I can have some more fun.

  23. Anonymous // February 11, 2011 at 10:46 PM  

    I got a call today, a guy by name justin with horrible indian accent claimed that he is calling from FCC and said he will remove my number off the telemarketing list and an automated message gav me a 5 digit code. the idiot justin guy called again and asked for that code. I was suspicious and asked for a manager. Another idiot kevin with indian accent came online and tried to convince me the same. I said Fk Off and hung up. The whole point is what is CRTC doing about this? are they just getting paid our tax dollars for relaxing??? or they know whats going on and still turn blind ? shame on them.

  24. Anonymous // March 12, 2011 at 9:07 PM  

    The same thing happened to me this morning. I fell for the scam and varified the pin number given to me. Later I when I went online I discoverd this website and realised that the phone call was a scam. I have tried to contact craigslist, the fraud beaureau and my phone company but since it was the week end I had to resort to emailing all theses agencies. My husband even called the local police and they gave him the number to the anti fraud centre. I think something should be done about this.

  25. Anonymous // March 16, 2011 at 7:23 PM  

    I just dealt with this fool who called with this same scam. What was funny to me, was that the Craigslist automated PIN generator clearly states taht if anyone asks for this PIN code, it's a scam, and not to give it to them! Craigslist seems to be aware of this scam and has put that disclaimer into their automated system. Whne I told the guy I work for the Federal Government, he got testy, then hung up.

  26. Anonymous // March 31, 2011 at 7:04 PM  

    I got this call, the guy claimed to be from the "Do Not Call List Department" of Canada (lol, not the CRTC?). I told him I was for sure registered as I had just updated it. He said I wasn't so I made him wait while I logged on and checked on the CRTC site. He acted surprised and claimed his system was a different department and tried to get me to type in some www. whatever address. I said, well I'm already on the correct government website. He finally gave up on me and never did get around to signing me up for Craigslist. The whole time, all I could think was "why would the Do Not Call Registry phone me with an unsolicited call?". The most worrying thing was that the guy wanted to confirm my address, and read it off to me.

  27. Greg // April 15, 2011 at 4:50 PM  

    I got this call from "John Marctan" (unknown # on caller ID, Indian accent) and I hammered Google while he gave me the story of Craigslist sponsoring the DNCL. Craigs list called and the recording even said this was a scam before giving me the PIN. Google found this site. John calls back. I tell him I'm not giving him a PIN, and call him a scammer. He says his employee ID number is HTCE063 and to call 1-866-580-3625 to verify him (gov't offices are closed by now). He threatens me that if I don't give him the code number, my phone will be blocked from making or receiving calls at all! I tell him that would be fun! Go ahead!

  28. Anonymous // April 20, 2011 at 7:08 PM  

    Anonymous said....

    I just recieved the same call from an indian male with a very bad phone connection presenting himself to be from the Canadian Government National Do Not Call Registry. To ensure that I do not get any marketing calls I am to hang up with him, after an automated machine will call which will give me a pin#, and then I am to give him this number when he calls back. So here is the fun part, as soon as he called back and was overly persistent on me giving him this pin number I was even more suspcious so I googled craigslist national do not call list and all this info showed up regarding the scam. I told the man on the phone that I did not trust him and was not going to give him the code and hung up. He called right back and so I read to him all the info I was viewing on line on how this was a scam. He was silent and I told him I was going to do further research if I wanted to remove myself off the registery and he agreed to let me go.

  29. Anonymous // April 25, 2011 at 3:53 PM  

    Scam is alive and well in Nova Scotia today. Context and accent match those found in previous posts.

  30. Anonymous // April 26, 2011 at 4:52 PM  

    I just got the same call from an Indian man claiming that I wasn't on the do not call list, even though I am.
    His english was terrible, and his story was very unconvincing. He told me the whole craiglist story etc etc... I told him I was not interested in what he was doing and he immediately slammed the phone on me. He called from this number: 1-519-222-1122.

  31. Anonymous // April 30, 2011 at 5:30 PM  

    I just got scammed. This is exactly what happened to me. Except I actually gave the Pin!!! What do I do. Someone please help me. I am very concerned. What do I do?

  32. Anonymous // May 4, 2011 at 6:17 PM  

    We just got a call The number that called back was415-366-0206.He asked for verification code...I did not give it.He called again.He is inpolite and insistent

  33. Anonymous // May 5, 2011 at 11:53 PM  

    They're still at it....got the same call today. Indian accent, said his name was Neil Smith, and told me I had to renew my do not call registration. Got the same craiglist call with pin#, then a callback from Neil. Told him to take a hike.

  34. Anonymous // May 18, 2011 at 8:30 PM  

    May 18, 2011

    Got the call.
    Did not believe the story and Googled "scam national do not call and Craig list" and got this site as confirmation to the scam.

  35. Anonymous // June 25, 2011 at 2:24 PM  

    i did the same thing with 3 numbers lol, and it was an indian guy aswell, called from california , number was 14153660260 he told me that bell (phone company) is giving away a free ipod and 2 free shirts.

  36. Anonymous // June 28, 2011 at 5:25 AM  

    Thank you!! I think you just saved me from making a huge mistake!! This one is a person i made contact with on Alibaba to buy something. I initiated this contact thinking I was contacting a reputable wholesaler. We are chatting online now and I'm googling what he's telling me...very scammy sounding!! Thank you SO much!!!

  37. Anonymous // June 28, 2011 at 12:25 PM  

    I just got a call right now from one of these scammers. Thank you so much for having information online or else I would have almost believed the caller!

  38. Anonymous // June 30, 2011 at 4:39 PM  

    I just received a call from someone with an east Indian accent who said they were calling on behalf of Bell Canada. East Indian and Bell Canada customer service go hand in hand so it sounded legit right off the bat.

    He said that because we were good customers and were always on time with our account that we could go to any bell store and offer them a code and in turn they would give us an Ipod and two tshirts.

    He said when he hangs up we will be contacted with the code. He hung up and sure enough the phone rang right away. I didn't understand why the code was coming from craigslist. As soon as i hung up the phone he called right back to verify the code was valid. I don't know why but I gave it to him. I didn't understand what the scam was until i googled it. Then it all made sense. Our phone number will be used to make a fake account with craigslist to be used in fraudulent accounts.

    I just messaged craigslist and requested that any accounts with our phone number be deactivated immediately.

    Hope this helps anyone

  39. Anonymous // July 8, 2011 at 10:06 AM  

    I have received this call several times... never giving the code. I almost fell for it the first time but when the autmated message from Craigslist said not to, I realized it was a scam. I finally got tired of it and then I proceeded to give them the wrong code. The caller told me it was the wrong code... and said to try again. I gave him the wrong code 3 times. After the 3rd time I told him I knew it was a scam and that I would not give it to him. He told me that I was wasting HIS time. I laughed and he hung up the phone on me. I never received a call after that.

  40. Anonymous // July 21, 2011 at 10:23 PM  

    Just got the call from a "Steve Holdom" saying he was working for Shaw Cable using Google's generic non-returnable phone number of 760-705-8888. I got the second call from him asking for the code so I gave him a made up code and kept him tied up on the phone for 5 minutes. I had nothing better to do so might as well make him frustrated and pissed off. It was fun.

  41. Anonymous // July 28, 2011 at 8:02 PM  

    I received this call aswell
    Claiming to be with the crtc
    Indian voice , so was his "supervisor"
    Same story as most of the others

    Didn't give the pin to him
    Does any one know how to stop these
    A holes?!! Looks like this is gone on for
    Three years or more!

  42. Anonymous // July 28, 2011 at 8:15 PM  

    i got email, and txt for a verification code, the txt was in french. how can we get these guys in trouble?