A Vancouver music lover is singing the blues after being burned in a Craigslist scam when she tried to buy two concert tickets for a sold-out show to see the British soul singer Adele.

The online seller was a young woman in Nanaimo who offered to sell the tickets to Kieren St. John this summer for $125 each – but said that she couldn't meet face-to-face.

"She told me that she was going with three friends [but] the three friends had bailed on her -- so she didn't want to come alone. So she was young, she had a whole sob story -- so she was really believable," St. John said.

After a series of emails with the seller, St. John agreed to send the money through a banking website. The cash was received but the tickets never arrived.

The story is familiar in B.C., where police say online scams through buy and sell websites like Craigslist and Kijiji are on the rise.

While many of the postings are legitimate, scores are not, and authorities say consumer greed – the "too good to be true" deal – is separating bargain-hunting consumers from their hard-earned money.

"Be suspicious and don't let the lure of an amazing deal cloud your judgment," said Insp. Tim Shields.

Shields says a very big sign that the transaction is a fraud is when the seller wants you to wire the money or use Western Union. In those cases, anyone with a fake ID would be able to walk away with the money on the other end.

Shields said it's important to verify there's a "legitimate person" on the other end of the deal.

"Someone who has a real legitimate phone number on the other end. Someone who has a more legitimate looking email address instead of a Yahoo, Hotmail or a Gmail account," he said.

It's also important to make sure the seller is knowledgeable about the product and that they let you see it in person.

If it's a high end item like a car or an ATV, have the seller take it to a local mechanic shop and pay to have it examined.

Shields says scammers often employ pressure tactics to make you think you're going to lose the deal.

"They usually use the greed of a buyer against them, who are going for that deal that is too good to be true and they couple that with urgency. A limited time offer, where if you don't react quickly someone else is going to buy it," he said.

St. John says she also felt rushed when she wired money for the Adele tickets that never arrived.

"I'd never buy anything off Craigslist again – never," she said.

Craigslist also has tips on how to avoid being scammed on its website, including:

  • Deal locally with people you can meet in person
  • Fake cheques and money orders are common
  • Craigslist does not handle payments or offer buyer protection
  • Avoid shipping or escrow deals
  • Only a scammer will guarantee your transaction

Police have a hard time putting online fraud artists out of business because of geography.

It's hard to find out where the scammers live and a lot of them aren't in Canada. If the person is operating from somewhere in the U.S. there's nothing police in Vancouver can do about it because the investigation needs to be launched in the country where the crime originated.

Watch CTV News Thursday for a full report from Lynda Steele...