Craigslist Prank

Michael Lu performed a prank with his friends in college at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA, when he was about 21 years old. Michael says that he and his friends would use this prank if they were miffed with a friend, but not entirely angry.

They got the idea for the prank from another prank that they had learned, where they would post a picture of their heterosexual friend on Craiglist, under the personal ads. Michael says, “[The idea] stemmed from posting personal ads on each other on Craigslist. Like we’d post other people’s pictures, like, ‘Gay, looking for a good time.’ And usually they’d get a call or two.”

The idea of a friend being badgered with unwanted phone calls from enthusiastic Craigslist hopefuls evolved into a new prank , sure to elicit more phone calls. Michael recalls, “We would go on Craigslist, and we would post an ad for a free TV for the first caller to my friend’s phone number, at 3 AM. Like seven people would instantaneously call. It was hilarious because it’d be like 3:30 AM and his phone is ringing off the hook. We also did it with Coachella tickets, like free Coachella tickets. [laughs]”

Michael thinks these jokes are harmless fun, and I have to agree. The introduction and widespread use of Caller ID ended most of the fun of prank calls, but kids are inventive, and it seems we’re in the age of Prank Calling 2.0. In addition, the Craigslist Prank, which often involves an unsuspecting victim and unsolicited calls has many variations and might be considered a genre of prank in the new digital age of folklore.

Annotation: This prank can also be seen documented in, in a document about a woman who was faced with felony charges after a very similar prank.

“Felony Charges for a Craiglist Prank.” The Smoking Loon. N.p., 09/Mar/2009. Web. 27 Apr 2011. <>.