Officials in the U.S. are warning timeshare owners, yet again, about another wave of crooks looking to exploit Mexican Timeshare owners.
Scammers are posing as real estate brokers and contacting timeshare owners claiming to have buyers ready to purchase or rent their timeshare. Some victims are reporting that they are being offered up to 60 percent more than they originally paid for them. Where the problem lies, is that some of these Mexican resorts are exclusive and celebrity endorsed, so owners believe they should be making considerable profits on their investments.
The fraudsters ask owners for an upfront taxes payment, which will be passed onto the Mexican government before funds can be released. The scammers continue to extract money from owners for fees, solicitors and taxes, until the timeshare owner realises they have been conned.
The Better Business Bureau, has been warning timeshare owners that scammers have been posing as legitimate businesses in the United States, even using their logo’s to fool customers. The scammers also create slick websites that appear real and write fake internet reviews.
In some cases, criminals have posed as Mexican government officials that have set up a fund to compensate victims of timeshare fraud.
How to avoid a Mexican timeshare scam:
You could get a call out of the blue asking you to sell your timeshare and they have buyers ready for your highly sought after timeshare. They may even offer you a large profit, the only catch, you have to pay a fee for this service. More than likely this will be an Escrow Fee, which you can recoup when the sale has gone through. Owners will be asked to transfer funds into a legitimate Escrow account, it is actually owned by the scammers but will look genuine. This is a very profitable scam running in Mexico, the many people who do send their Escrow Fees, never ever see their money again and are still stuck with their timeshares. To make matters worse, and to continue the con, the scammers will send authentic looking documents to their victims, and often the owner does not realise they have been scammed for quite some time.
Incredibly, some owners have been cold-called and informed that a branch of the Mexican government has set up a fund to reimburse victims of timeshare fraud in Mexico, and they are eligible for a claim, they even have documents to prove it. Another massive scam, there is no such scheme in Mexico.
How to spot a timeshare scam:
A cold-call informing you they have a buyer ready to purchase your timeshare, they may even offer you more than you paid for it. The chances of someone offering to buy your timeshare for more than you paid for it, is extremely unlikely.
They may claim the Mexican government is offering to reimburse victims of timeshare fraud, 100% untrue. They will ask you to transfer a few thousand to pay a tax to allow them to open a Mexican account in your name.
They will request funds to be transferred in ways that are difficult to trace, such as cashiers cheques and money orders.
The scammer will ask you to transfer funds into an Escrow account, this will be for transfer of deeds fee, none of the services they promise will occur and you will never see this money again.
People who enter into timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract.
There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advice and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
It is also important to remember that purchasing a timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry. These type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or simply want to end your agreement, get in touch with us today to see how we can help with a possible money back claim.