Friday, February 5, 2010

Classifieds Crime List Part 2

Critics say Craigslist doesn't do everything it could or should to prevent crimes that are happening through connections made on the site. Friday at 5pm on News 3, you'll hear from Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto, who says an agreement Craigslist made with Attorneys-General from several states last year is not having all of the desired outcomes. A blogger who specializes in Craigslist crime says the site should entirely close parts of its operation.

If you misssed it, here is part one of our report.

We wanted Craigslist to respond to the critics. We wrote to a "press" email address on the site, and contacted their public relations firm. We wanted to interview someone over the phone. After several attempts, Susan MacTavish Best from Best Public Relations asked CrimeTracker 3 to send an email. Here is the entire email:

Ms. MacTavish Best:

We are still interested in speaking with you via telephone this week, so we can air it with our story. However, if you prefer to answer our questions via email, we are grateful for your time. We are well aware of the posting on Craigslist to help customers avoid scams and trouble when meeting face to face.

Here are some of our questions.

Last year, Craigslist entered into an agreement with the Attorneys General from 38 states to strengthen security measures on the site pertaining to adult and erotic services. What steps has Craigslist taken to that end and are they working?

Critics say the adult erotic services section, and perhaps even the casual encounters section from Craigslist should be taken down altogether. What is the response from Craigslist?

The Nevada Attorney General still feels more needs to be done to protect people, especially children, from gaining access to/falling victim to possible predators in these sections. Can Craigslist do anything more to make sure those posting can be identified?

Ebay tracks users via credit card numbers. Would Craigslist ever consider doing the same? Those who want to post, buy or sell must give valid credit card information so they can be tracked if a crime occurs.

Does Craigslist get too much blame for crimes occurring on online classifieds?

Do any laws need to be changed so Craigslist can help its customers stay safer?

What is Craigslist’s policy when alerted about a crime or potential scam by a customer?

How long can a customer expect to wait to hear back from Craigslist after the company is alerted about a possible crime/scam?

Our story is set to air Thursday, February 4, 2010. Thank you for a prompt reply and I look forward to receiving your answers soon.
After CrimeTracker 3's Sophia Choi sent that email, Susan MacTavish Best replied to an earlier email from producer Eric Wiener:
Hi Eric,

Here's a comment for you:

Use of craigslist in connection with any crime is unwise and quite rare. It virtually guarantees immediate apprehension and prosecution. An electronic trail to the perpetrator is inevitably left behind, and craigslist actively cooperates with law enforcement.

For tips on safety specifically on craigslist, you'll see that we provide warnings on every page. The #1 rule which I urge you to tell your viewers/readers is to ONLY DEAL WITH PEOPLE YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON LOCALLY. Do that and you'll avoid 99% of all scam attempts.


By email, we confirmed that this response would be the only response to our inquiries, and our specific questions would not be specifically answered.

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