Buying Tickets on Craigslist: Is It safe?


Craigslist can be a great website for cheap resources – or for procrastinating in the “Missed Connections” section. They have an entire section dedicated to selling tickets, but is it safe?

The website has been fighting increasing amounts of spam over the years – it only takes one quick look at their “About Scams” section to know that Craigslist should only be used as a last resort. When using Craigslist, you are dealing directly with the user – Craigslist itself makes no guarantees about the safety of your transaction. This, of course, can create a large amount of problems.

However, if your search for tickets has run dry on websites that guarantee your ticket’s authenticity (such as TickPick), you may want to check out Craigslist’s ticketing section. Once you familiarize yourself with internet safety and educate yourself on spotting possible scams, follow these steps:

1. Know what you’re dealing with.

On Craigslist, tickets are filtered into two categories: tickets by dealer and tickets by owner. “Tickets by dealer” means that the poster is a professional ticket broker. Often, these posts will redirect to broker websites and secondary ticketing markets. These are by far more trustworthy than the less than optimal “tickets by owner” option. “Tickets by owner” means that – for whatever reason,  illness, absence, or what have you – an individual is selling tickets that they bought through a professional ticketing agency. While there are a lot of deals and obscure tickets that you can find this way, you have to be extremely careful when dealing with these tickets, which leads me to my next point…

2. Again, look out for spam!

Avoid entering transactions where the user requests payment by PayPal or other online services. Because users remain anonymous on Craigslist, it is difficult to tell if a poster has an authentic background when it comes to things like PayPal or Ebay. Rather, meet the seller in person to make your transaction – preferably with a friend in a busy, non-secluded area (try a local Starbucks). If you can’t bring a friend, tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Have your cell phone on you. Use your common sense and stay safe! For more anti-spam tips, check out this awesome article on Lifehacker, or this personal story by one the Co-Founders of TickPick discussing how they bought fake tickets on craigslist and how to avoid fakes in the future.

Good luck with your ticketing efforts! Don’t forget to check TickPick before using websites like Craigslist.

- Caroline

  • siliconsleep

    This is a straight up advertisement for that website fallaciously masquerading as a legitimate random comment. I’m flagging this account and the accounts you used to comment on this as spam. Get the fuck out of here.

  • KT Jones

    Thanks J. I found some great deals on local sporting events.

  • danny k

    Craigslist can be great for a last minute ticket grab or unloading in the final few hours. This is where sites like Stubhub fail, since they play middle man and do not allow users the flexibility of direct connections.

    If you need flexibility and don’t want to pay exorbatant fees, Craigslist works well. Do more work yourself and get more $$ as a result. However, It’s safer to use a community site where the users have credibility.

    Try a facebook ticket group, where you can see who the buyer / seller are connected with and view their profile. Or try, which focuses on local fan to fans trades, has profiles and feedback for users, doesn’t charge fees, and allows users to directly communicate with one another.

  • Brett Goldberg

    The tip to check to make sure that the craigslist post hasn’t been posted numerous times (and avoiding these sellers) will certainly make Craigslist more safe.

    I don’t think buying tickets on the street is ideal, but if it’s your only option, you can make it more safe by doing it at or near the venue; this way you can check if they are real.

    Assuming you are with more than one person, the (craiglist) seller should allow one person to test the tickets and enter the venue, while the others wait with the money and the seller. If they are fake tickets, the seller will never let you test them, then you know you shouldn’t buy those tickets.