Timeshare scams have been going on for decades and are only becoming more complex with new underhanded tactics, technology and schemes designed to steal the money of innocent people.
They can use many ways to contact people or lure in potential victims using social media, emails, websites, phones, leaflets and even knocking on doors.
Some of these methods are disguised in a way so that they look or sound extremely legitimate, and it can be very difficult for individuals to tell the difference between what is a scam and what is the real deal.
Here we go through and explain the different types of telephone timeshare scams and the common red flags that will help you recognise and avoid them.
Types of Telephone Scams
There are a number of timeshare scams that are designed to ‘bait you’ and attract your attention so that they can real you in.
- The Classic Timeshare Scam
Thankfully a lot of people are aware enough now that they hear the term ‘timeshare’ and they quickly shut down any interaction with someone trying to sell them on it. However, the scammers know better and will use different terminology such as – an investment opportunity, holiday home, vacation clubs and so on. It’s the same scam just disguised to trick you into buying into something that isn’t worth what you pay and can lock you in for years to come.
- Timeshare Resales
Targeting those who are already timeshare victims and stuck in a contract for a property they no longer want, can use, or afford. This scam takes many forms but will typically involve you being contacted by a so-called timeshare / broker / estate agent who says they can sell your timeshare for you or that they have a buyer lined up ready. This will always of course involve paying an upfront fee / charge / cost to cover legal, admin and so on. It isn’t true, you will never see your money again and you will still be left with the property.
- Timeshare Exit Scams
Whilst there are legitimate lawyers and solicitors who work to help customers exit their timeshares legally, there are also a number of scammers who use this to their advantage. Claiming to be from a credible company or agency, they pretend to be an employee or representative and guarantee an exit from your timeshare in exchange for upfront legal fees.
Common Red Flags
There are many signs, indications and red flags that can alert you that something is a scam. Here are some of the things that you should look out for:
- Cold calls
- Text messages
- The person contacting you already knows a lot of your details
- It sounds too good to be true
- Asked to pay upfront fees / costs / charges
- They hesitate or skirt around direct questions
- Insistence, pressure, or coerciveness
- The use of fear to convince you
- Being told it is a limited time offer, that there is a clock on it, i.e. a deadline etc
- You are told that you are on a ‘Timeshare Register’ when there is no such thing
- They say that debt collectors will be coming to you
- You are promised that you will get back any money they take
- They are not directly regulated by the FCA or the SRA