Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bypassing Craigslist Phone Verification

As a preface to this post I would like to say that Craiglist's phone verification system is fascinating to me. Phone phreaking is a topic I have a lot of interest in even if it has now more or less become an artifact of the past. I figured it would be interesting to discuss the various ways one can approach the problem, I do not intend any harm by providing any of this information. If you have any other insights into the verification system, please contact me.

If you do not have a valid US number, and you are trying to post on Craigslist... well you're probably reading this now. There are a few avenues you can try to take to get past the verification step, but all of them are probably going to result in you getting a US number somehow. You can not get past verification without providing the code they give you.

My would-be go-to answer, a 711 pre-paid phone won't work... unfortunately. Craigslist does have guidelines, you will need to keep them in mind:
  • You may only try to call a phone number once every five minutes.
  • You may only enter the code five times.
  • You may only try three phone numbers per account every twelve hours.
  • You may only receive three calls per account every twelve hours.
Disallowed numbers:
Some phone numbers are not usable for phone verification, including the following:
  • phone numbers from outside the U.S. or Canada
  • pre-paid mobile numbers
  • toll-free numbers (area codes 800, 877)
  • some Voice over IP (VOIP) phone numbers (including Cricket, MetroPCS)
About a year ago I tried verification through Skype, and it did not work, so I would not recommend wasting money trying this step unless something has changed since this article was last posted (11/14/12). Getting a 800 number is a hastle in itself anyways. Perhaps a mailbox on a non-800 number phone system would work though. Maybe getting the verification to dial in to a conference call? Once again if you know anything about this, email me from one of the links above.

A method which used to work was using Virgin mobile phones, because you could change your number online for free. They now charge $10 each time you want to do this. However if you post on Craiglist often this could be worthwhile to you as it is likely that making multiple posts within 48 hours of each other will end up with your ad not getting published, even if they tell you otherwise. Services like Textplus has been suggested to me in the past but I have never used it. Use at your own discretion, for all I know it's a terrible virus that texts all the pictures on your phone to the "Mom" contact in your phonebook.

If you do have a problem with your ad not showing up, you can try calling Craigslist here:

Phone: 415-566-6394 
Phone: (408) 988-6395
FAX: 415-504-6394 
Toll Free: 800-664-0633

...however it will be impossible to get in touch with a human.

Another simple option is to ask your American friend to register using their phone, after all most people still have landlines laying around anyways. Alternatively there are suppliers out there that will try to sell you verified numbers. I would recommends against this as Craigslist now has you reverify your number repeatedly if need be. This method also counters the Virgin Mobile method as well. If you are still interested in purchasing a number, you can try googling "PVA accounts". Ironically, asking an American is probably your best bet. If you live near a pay phone that still exists, you could try getting the verification code through it too.

Let me know if ANYTHING here was helpful at all.

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