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how to identify timeshare scams

7 Ways to Tell if It’s a Timeshare Scam

Some timeshare scam artists go to great lengths to pull one over on timeshare owners. Don’t fall victim to their trap.

Stay one step ahead of these con artists. Check out these 7 ways to tell if someone is trying to scam you for your timeshare!

7 Ways to Tell if’s a Timeshare Scam

1. You Were Contacted With a Timeshare Offer Out of the Blue

The first sure sign of a timeshare scam is if you were contacted with an unsolicited offer.

If you’re advertising that your timeshare is up for rent or sale, of course, it makes sense that you will receive inquiries. However, legitimate companies won’t contact you out of the blue with offers to rent or sell your timeshare.

This means that if you get an unexpected phone call from someone you’ve never heard of before asking if you want to rent or sell your timeshare, it’s likely a timeshare scam.

While they may even have detailed information about their ownership, don’t let this convince you that they are legitimate.

A lot of timeshare ownership information is easily available to the public, which means anyone can find out where you own, what you own, or even how long you’ve owned the timeshare for.

2. You Were Invited to a Seminar

In order to make one quick, big score, timeshare scam artists are desperate to gather as many timeshare owners as they can at once.

These scam artists rent a room at a local hotel and send out postcards to “invite” you to a presentation. This presentation is said to be meant to help you get more money out of your timeshare ownership through listing it for sale, renting it, donating it to charity, etc.

Scammers know you’re open to attending such events/presentations since that is likely the way you bought your timeshare, to begin with.

After they get your money, however, they’ll likely disappear, never to be heard from again.

3. You’re Offered More Money for Your Timeshare Than Your Asking Price

While not ideal, it’s the hard truth that timeshares don’t make a great investment for owners that are hoping to sell for more than they paid.

The fact is that there are too many units available. These units are being sold by a bunch of pushy developers that have greater access to potential buyers.

This means that when a company or individual gets a hold of you and promises that they can get you more than your asking price, you’re likely looking at a scam.

4. There’s an Interested Anonymous Buyer

Has someone identified themselves as some sort of real estate professional contacted you with a hot buyer who is “very interested” in purchasing your timeshare?

Watch out, this is probably a scammer.

If you’re being told that all you have to do is send the money for “closing costs,” don’t believe it.

5. Online Complaints and/or Bad Rating

Hopefully, you took the name of the person and/or company that you’re considering to sell, donate, or rent your timeshare to.

Now, take the time to type it into a search engine and read up. Specifically, try typing in the name followed by the word “complaints” to see what you get.

This is a good way to find out if they’ve been running a scam if other victims have posted in forums and complaint boards regarding their scammer experience.

Also, check to see if the person and/or company has a bad rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

If the company has been earning a bad reputation, this is one of the best ways to find that out and uncover the truth.

The BBB is one of the most trusted sources of information about business and their reputations. Additionally, it’s one of the first places angry customers will go if they feel they’ve been scammed.

Learn from their mistakes through these quick searches.

6. They Want Money Upfront

You may be contacted by someone who wants money up front to “list” your timeshare.

They’ll tell you that for just $600, $800, $2500, etc., they will happily “list” your timeshare for sale. Even if they do take your money and list your timeshare for sale, it will be in a place where virtually no one will buy it.

Only, they won’t tell you that last part!

The demand for upfront payment can come in many other forms as well.

Con artists won’t always be obvious about the cost, so beware. Some may string you along explicitly stating that they’re aren’t any upfront fees.

All the while they may be asking that funds be deposited into an “escrow account.” They will still be doing so without any intention of ever returning your funds.

7. You’re Asked for a Money Order or Wire Transfer

The biggest tip for timeshare sales, rentals, or donations is to not deal with anyone who requires payment upfront in a form that immediately removes any chance that you could stop payment or protect yourself in the event that the promised service is never delivered.

If the person and/or company requires payment by money order or bank wire transfer, this is a huge red flag. Someone is likely trying to separate you from your money quickly with no intention of making sure you’re satisfied in the end.

When you pay by credit card or personal check, you have built-in protections. These methods allow you some safety in the case of timeshare cancellation, timeshare donation, or timeshare service sales.

However, money orders and wire transfers don’t work the same way.

Even if the person/company is saying the offer is “time sensitive” or putting pressure on you, don’t do it.

The Final Tip on What to Avoid

At all costs, avoid 900 numbers.

Although much of the advice surrounding avoiding timeshare scams centers on not being pressured into a contract or paying upfront fees that will lose you a lot of money, there’s an even faster way to spot scammers.

Avoid any company calling from a 900 number, as this is a sure way to identify a scammer.

Are you looking to permanently and legally get out of your vacation ownership without being scammed? Check out Escape Resolutions for your next steps!

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