If it sounds too good to be true: First it was swampland in Florida. Then ownership of London Bridge. Now, timeshare owners across the country are being scammed out of millions of dollars by unscrupulous companies that promise to sell or rent timeshare properties.
According to the Internet Crime Reporting Center (www.ic3.gov), in the typical scam “timeshare owners receive unexpected or uninvited telephone calls or emails from criminals posing as sales representatives for a timeshare resale company. The representative promises a quick sale, often within 60-90 days. The sales representatives often use high-pressure sales tactics to add a sense of urgency to the deal. Some victims have reported that sales representatives pressured them by claiming there was a buyer waiting in the wings, either on the other line or even present in the office.”
In some cases, the center said, “timeshare owners who have been defrauded by a timeshare sales scheme have been subsequently contacted by an unscrupulous timeshare fraud recovery company as well.”
Protect yourself: If you are contacted by someone offering to sell or rent your timeshare, be cautious. To avoid becoming a victim of a timeshare scheme:
•Start with trust by checking the company’s track record with the Better Business Bureau.
•Be wary if a company asks you for up-front fees to sell or rent your timeshare.
•Always read the fine print of any sales contract or rental agreement.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of this type of scam should promptly report it to the IC3’s website. Complaints are linked and referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration.
More info or report scams: Visit the BBB at www.bbb.org. Call (509) 455-4200 or (800) 356-1007. Or sign up to receive our scam alerts at www.bbb.org/scam.
Holly Doering, BBB editor