Georgia officials warn consumers of timeshare resale scams

ATLANTA – Officials are warning timeshare owners of scam calls, usually from someone believed to be working for a travel company.

According to Attorney General Chris Car, the Secretary of State’s Office and the Better Business Bureau, timeshare owners in Mexico are often targets of this scam.

The company usually tells the owners there is a buyer interested in purchasing their timeshare property.

But while the timeshare sale is supposedly pending, these scammers often tell the seller there are fees and/or taxes connected with the sale that need to be paid upfront. They are then instructed to wire the money to an agent who is often located in another country.  The company continues to collect additional fees until they inform the seller that the sale has fallen through or the victim says they want to get out of the deal.

The sellers then find they are unable to get their money back.

Officials say these scammers are sometimes committing corporate identity theft to add credibility to the scam. They hijack the corporate registration information of a business at the Secretary of State’s Office by altering the names of corporate officers.

As a result, if someone researches the business it appears as though the fake timeshare title company or travel agency is legitimate.

In some cases, the scammers register with their local Better Business Bureau using the same fictitious corporate officer names that were used in the fake corporate registration documents filed with the government.

Officials as you to keep the following advice in mind if you are trying to sell your timeshare:

-Wire money requests in connection with a timeshare resale or rental is a big sign of fraud
-If the reseller you are dealing with is located in the United States, there is no legitimate reason for the money to be sent to another country
-Be suspicious of any uninvited solicitations or offers to buy or resell your timeshare, particularly those that seem “too good to be true.”
-If you are considering a resale, contact your timeshare resort or timeshare developer, who may be aware of a new or ongoing scam
-Avoid paying money to a reseller up-front. If possible, find a reseller that takes its fee after the timeshare is sold.
-If you must pay a fee in advance, ask about refunds. Get refund policies and promises in writing.
-Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics; they often indicate a scam.
-Ask your resort’s developer, resort manager or owner’s association if they have a newsletter, website or bulletin board where owners can advertise their timeshare for resale.

Consumers who believe they have been victims of a timeshare resale scam should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit by calling (404) 651-8600 or going to consumer.ga.gov.

If you suspect a fraudulent filing, you can call the Secretary of State’s Office at (404) 656-2817 or email soscontact@sos.ga.gov.

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