Just last week, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley urged caution to those trying to sell a timeshare property and today the AARP Fraud Watch Network has issued a similar warning. Buying timeshare vacation properties used to be fraught with fraud risks. Now, there are additional risks when it comes time to sell.
How It Works:
- You receive a phone call from a company that claims to have a buyer for your timeshare property. The caller even gives you the name and number of the prospective buyer, who confirms interest in the sale.
- The caller faxes you signed documents that appear to be legitimate, along with a request for your credit card number to pay to set up escrow and title services. The caller promises you’ll get that money back once the deal closes.
- Weeks pass, and then months. You never hear back from the company and you’ve lost the upfront fee, which could be thousands of dollars.
What you should know:
Timeshare owners who get caught up in this scam often have no recourse. By the time they realize they have been scammed, it’s usually too late to open a dispute with the credit card company.
What you should do:
If you’re looking to sell your timeshare, visit Resale Center of the American Resort Development Association and heed these three basic rules:
- Don’t expect too much: Timeshares are a product, not an investment. Unless the property is in a very desirable location, you probably won't get as much as you'd like for it.
- Ask the resort if it has a formal resale program.
- If you receive a call from someone telling you they have a buyer and all you have to do is pay some upfront money, hang up.
If you think you've been the victim of this or another scam, file a complaint with the SD Division of Consumer Protection at www.consumer.sd.gov or call 1-800-300-1986. Also, help to warn other South Dakotans of fraud happening in our area by reporting your experience on the AARP Fraud Watch Network scam-tracking map.