Case Study Shows 84% of Craig's List Personals Ads are Fake

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Tom Smiley recently released on October 31, 2008 a case study in which he examines the number of fake profiles found on Craig' s List. Specifically, he took a look at all personal ads for woman seeking men in all United States cities for one day. This totalled 6,590 individual ads. In total he claims to have found that 5,564 of these personal ads appeared to be fake. This means only 16% of the ads he examined where real. Tom Smiley used 5 different methods to figure out if a personal ad was a fake. These methods were:

  1. Dismissal of ads with pictures posted in multiple ads.
  2. Dismissal of ads with three point randomizers.
  3. Dismissal of ads with typical verbatim occurrences indicating variables in form letters.
  4. Dismissal of ads that are obvious fraud.
  5. Dismissal of ads that simply don't match headline w/content.

More Details can be found here on his methodology including examples. I'm not a big user of Craig's List and always thought their personals section wasn't the best place to visit to find someone to date. After reading Tom Smiley's case study I definitely wouldn't recommend Craig's List for dating to anyone.

For the full case study see Online Personals Fraud and you can view our Craig's List review.