Justin Bieber's Ottawa concert is more than three months away, but fraud investigators say scam artists are already trying to cash in on Bieber fever, roping in fans with phoney online ticket sales.
The platinum-selling pop singer is performing at Scotiabank Place on Nov. 23, and tickets to the show sold out in under an hour. Ottawa DJ Jason Taillon, 22, couldn't wait to see Beiber live. Though Taillon didn't warm up to the teen star in the beginning, he said, he now recognizes the Statford, Ont.-native's talent.
"He's destined to become the new Michael Jackson ...That's pretty exciting to see a kid go from nothing, from YouTube to the biggest person in the world right now, is inspiring," said Taillon.
Taillon paid for four tickets at online classified-ad site Kijiji, paying a $400 money transfer to a person who claimed to be a Montreal mother. The person Taillon communicated with over email said she had planned to take her daughter and two cousins to the show, but found better tickets.
His tickets never showed up.
"I feel duped ... I had a gut feeling, but it sounded legit, it sounded too good to be true," said Taillon.
Tickets sold, then reported lost
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre manager Daniel Williams said other people have also reported losing money on Justin Bieber tickets, but said most people who are victims of fraud won't report it.
He said many people won't realize they have been duped until they show up at the concert. He said, in some cases, scammers will mail the tickets, and then report them lost or stolen, so when people show up at the gate they won't be allowed in to see the show.
"They're all experts at playing on your emotions," said Williams. "Knowing the psychology of how to gain your trust, it's the whole essence of what they do.
"If you want to avoid 99 per cent of the fraud, make sure the purchase is done locally and the transaction is done in person," he said.
Williams said the safest way to make a private purchase online is to pay by credit card through eBay or another site that uses PayPal.