Possible Timeshare Scams
Scams - The unfortunate soft underbelly of the Timeshare Industry.
The most frequent scam is called the Advance Fee Fraud. In this case, the timeshare owner/seller is cold called by an individual who claims to be a legitimate broker/agent for a legitmate broker/dealer/event planner/timeshare specialist. Often times the caller has stolen the identity of legitimate brokers/agents and companies to put the person being cold called at ease.
Want to report a fraud to the FBI?
You must listen to this recording - a California licensed real estate agent talking to a person who has stolen his identity to collect a commission on money received from unsuspecting sellers. Brett Jennings is the real name of the California agent.
Yes, it is highly important that we find and prosecute these individuals. But....their's is a perfect business plan. Why? Because WE ALL WRITE CHECKS!
Follow these simple steps to determine if the caller is legitiate or not:
- Copy and paste the domain name into a “who-is” site to determine the ownership profile of the domain. When it was created, when changes were made and when it expires. The sites with one year durations are likely scams.
- Copy and paste the address into Google Earth or some other mapping service with Satellite imaging. Look at the location of the address to determine if it refers to an office building or some other structure. Sometimes the address is a vacant lot.
- Copy and paste the address into the search box of your browser. Identify companies located at the given address. It is best if you can find the management company or leasing agent. Call them and ask if the company in question pays rent to the management company. If you can’t find a management company or leasing agent, call one of the companies listed at the given address. Generally speaking, addresses in office buildings without specific reference to a suite number is a fake address. The US Postal Service or any other mail delivery service would not be able to deliver a parcel to an address that does not have a suite number.
- Log into the state’s Secretary of State Business Search site. Search for the company name. If it does not appear, then the company is suspect.
- Log into the state’s real estate division and search for the agent’s name or the name of the company. If the company does not appear, it is suspect. Sometimes you can find a name that has been hijacked by checking addresses listed. The scammer's address may not appear in the official records.
- Search for a website called Yougetsignal.com. This site allows you to reverse look up email addresses, telephone numbers and other stuff. The keys are to determine if the telephone numbers are located at the address given in the website. The email search is likely to come up blank.
Receive a call from someone who wants you to participate in tracking down dishonest timeshare developers? Tap here to see a list of offices in Mexico's Department of Tourism. Do not give your personal information to anyone!So let's all do our part to help stamp out the scams: Only You Can Write the Check....Don't Write the Check!
Remember, these people do not feel they are doing anything wrong.
- Do not send money or pay for ANYTHING.
- Do not send any documents by FAX.
- Do send by certified return receipt requested to the caller's listed address a test document. If the test parcel arrives and the recipient reads to you the information you requested in the certified letter, then at least you know the address is not fake.
- Perform your due diligence carefully.
- If it seems too good to be true, then stay away!
- If it is legitimate, then all costs of the sale are paid from verified proceeds in a verified escrow account that you open and control.
- ONLY YOU CAN WRITE THAT CHECK! IF NO ONE SENDS SCAMMERS ANY MONEY, THEY WILL GO OUT OF BUSINESS!!
Finally, heed Grupo Vidnata's instructions as they are outlined below:
Global Luxury Events - San Francisco, CA|
MW shares her story and her attorney's advice. Definitely stay alert. There is no reason for anyone should lose their money. Just don't write that check.
MINNE Realty Services Inc. - minnerealty.com|
Look out for this telephone number: 952-679-1253. It does not appear in the Yellow Pages, but the website states the company is experienced in real estate and timeshare sales. Be careful....
Investors Management Co., 400 Poydras, New Orleans, LA|
No such company at the address listed on their website and telephone numbers do not match. Caller asks questions about your ownership, which you should not divulge. Caution!!