If you follow the link she provides, the website asks you for your credit card number — y'know, so it can do a background check to make sure you're not a criminal. My favorite scam: One individual tried to get me to buy him or her virtual currency in online games like Maple Story before agreeing to hand over contact information. I decided I would have to take the initiative, so in addition to posting my own ads, I started responding to every ad from any woman who seemed at all interesting.
I cast a wide net in my searches, looking up posts by straight or bisexual women between the ages of 18 and 35 who lived anywhere in Chicagoland — a large metropolitan area that's home to close to five million females.
Many people use Craigslist to find roommates, cheap furniture, used cars or part-time jobs. I decided to dive into Craigslist's "Casual Encounters" — a section made for no-strings hookups — to see if any of what I assumed about that virtual place was true.
She made it clear that she wanted to meet up, and while she talked about starting slow, it was clear that it would indeed be a casual encounter. I observed that for every ad a woman posts, there are at least 20 from men.The prostitutes of Craigslist speak in code, but it's not a difficult one to learn.They advertise "French lessons" — an odd thing to advertise under "Casual Encounters," don't you think?One day my message was intended to be sweet and normal; I suggested starting with drinks and fun conversation to see if we had chemistry, then going back to my place to cuddle on the couch with a movie and see where that led. In yet another, I explicitly detailed sexual activities and used very aggressive language.Ultimately, only the "sweet and normal" was successful, even though very few posts by women had that same tone (more on that later). Most were scams, some were men, some were prostitutes, and just one was legit.It didn't take long to realize that almost all the replies I received were scams.The situation is so severe on Craigslist Casual Encounters that posts by real women who are actually seeking hook-ups are often flagged for removal at the slightest cause for suspicion. An alleged woman will write a man saying she's interested, but that because of the Craigslist-based serial killers and rapists in the news, she needs some extra assurance that it's safe. The week was half over and I hadn't had a single bite.All the responses I got from real people on my first day weren't from women — they were from men.I made it very clear in my post that I was only interested in women, but a large number of men chose to ignore that. I responded to them politely, saying, "Just interested in women, but thanks for the offer!A woman wrote in response to my sweet "cuddling first" ad saying she was in town for only a couple of months, and that she was frustrated she couldn't find a relationship.When she sent her pictures, she looked plain but attractive.