timeshare scams

The Most Common Timeshare Scams And How To Spot Them

The best way to protect yourself against timeshare scams is to learn about the most popular tactics the scammers will try. This article will cover the schemes we hear about most often, so you can be prepared the next time someone calls you out of the blue.

Cold Calling

This is the most widespread approach to scams but also one of the easiest to avoid once you understand it. When anybody calls to speak about your timeshare, unless you’re expecting a call from a representative of the company you have an agreement with, it’s a cold call. Unfortunately, these callers frequently have access to a lot of personal information which they will use to pass themselves off as credible when questioned. This is often quite successful, particularly in households that aren’t so up to date with data sharing laws and scams. Nowadays, scammers can gain access to everything from your name to your passport number through data breaches and in some cases the legal sale of personal information.

Any time you receive a call from someone asking to discuss your timeshare, hang up and block the number if possible. If you’re really sure that the caller is from the company you have an arrangement with, insist on calling them back using the details you previously held before continuing the conversation. If they try to convince you not to do this, it’s most likely that they’re not who they say they are.

Extortion Scams

There are a few ways that scammers may try to extort money from timeshare owners. In some cases they use a very direct approach, such as a cold call claiming that you owe a company money for fees that you didn’t know about. These calls can often be frightening, as the scammers may threaten legal action or other consequences if you don’t pay the debt they have made up.

Most Common Timeshare Scams

A more subtle extortion scheme comes in the form of “free” or low-cost holidays, which are a hard offer to turn down. Yet it isn’t always made clear to the target that in order for the holiday to remain free, they have to attend a timeshare sales pitch known as a “tour” during their trip. Targets who don’t take this tour can be hit with the full cost of the holiday, which the company decides and is often much higher than the going rate.

To avoid extortion, make sure never to discuss money with cold callers. Whether they are asking you for details or trying to offer you something expensive for free, end the call and don’t risk anything.

Timeshare Exit Promises

As public awareness of the problems with timeshares grows, many people are considering getting out of their own contract. Scammers are aware of this and will call up potential targets to offer them an easy way out. They’ll promise that for one last payment, you can be free of your timeshare and they’ll take care of all the details.  In reality, no cold caller will be equipped to do so, as they’re not experienced timeshare solicitors. They’re only interested in taking that initial payment.

Resale Scams

These scammers can be some of the most devious, as they will pose as real estate agents and even use the names of existing companies to make them sound official. They also offer a quick end to timeshare troubles, but will act as if they have buyers lined up and waiting for a property like yours. Because they’re so persuasive, they are able to get targets to send money upfront, which they’ll say is for various taxes and fees associated with the sale. To avoid falling for this scam, never continue a conversation with a cold caller about selling your timeshare, no matter how convincing they seem.