Police are warning renters to be careful when looking for apartments after a woman lost $6,000 in a fake landlord scam in Vancouver.

Sandy Irving found an 1,800-square-foot apartment in Coal Harbour on the online classifieds site, Kijiji.

"Well, I thought, I've hit a good one here, because this is better than lots I've seen," Irving said.

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Sandy Irving visited the condo four times, but each time, the fake landlord was too busy. (CBC)

She viewed the suite four times, but each time, the man claiming to be the landlord said he was too busy to go with her.

The pair met at a coffee shop to sign the rental agreement, and Irving made copies before giving him $6,000 in cash for the first month's rent and deposit.

But the condo was not actually for rent. It was for sale by an owner who lives in Korea. Pictures from the legitimate real estate listing were used for the fraudulent rental ad.

The listing agent says the fake owner tricked the building concierge into letting Irving into the suite by saying he was taking the suite off the market and renting it out instead. He arranged for the concierge to give a key to Irving.

Police say renters should get a passport copy, drivers licence or other ID from potential landlords before handing over any money.

"If at all you feel uncomfortable in a transaction when you're trying to rent a place, we suggest that you back out and you look at another place to rent," he said.

Police are examining surveillance video from the photocopy shop to try and locate the scam artist.

With files from the CBC's Jesara Sinclair and Kirk Williams