Timeshare resale and redemption scams manage to swindle consumers out of thousands of dollars every year. They affect owners from all across the country and from all walks of life, whose only commonality is that they have been made vulnerable by their earnest desire to free themselves from a burdensome timeshare obligation.
Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offered a helpful method for quickly identifying (and avoiding) all sorts of scams, including those targeting timeshare owners: understand how scammers will make you pay, and you may be able to spot and sidestep a scam before you’re parted with your money.
As one writer for the FTC puts it on their “Consumer Information” blog (emphasis theirs):
“Did someone say you can only pay by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, or loading money on a cash reload card? If they did, then yes: that is a scam.
Nobody legitimate is ever going to say you have to pay by wiring them money, getting iTunes cards, or putting money on a MoneyPak, Vanilla Reload, or Reloadit card.”
The post also includes a handy video, featuring the FTC’s Midwest Region Director Todd Kossow. In the short clip, Kossow breaks down the “common ways” in which scammers solicit payment, and the reasons they use these methods. As he explains:
“All scammers want to get your money as quickly as possible, in a way that makes it hard to trace them and hard for you to get your money back.”
Kossow points to two common examples of payment methods that scammers use to part consumers with their hard-earned money:
- Wiring money (which he explains is like “sending cash – you almost never get it back, and scammers know that”)
- Gift cards or cash reload cards (as once they have the card’s registration numbers, “that lets them get the money right away, and you’re left with nothing”)
If you’re being cajoled or coerced into paying by one of these methods, or any other way that seems suspicious, Kossow advises consumers to “stop,” no matter “who [the scammers] say they are, or how urgent it seems.” Instead of following through with the payment, he says, “get off the phone, talk to someone,” and then tell the FTC through their official complaint channel, available here.
For more information or to watch the full video, you can check out the complete blog post from the FTC here.
Here at Finn Law Group, we like to highlight warnings and stories of these scams in action in our News Room, and offer fresh perspectives on consumer protection and scam prevention in our Learning Center. For more thoughts on recognizing and avoiding the common timeshare resale or relief scam, don’t hesitate to visit these resources from the Finn Law Group team:
- ‘What’s the Most Common Timeshare Scam?‘
- The Five Stages of a Timeshare Resale Scam
- Is It a Timeshare Scam? Watch Out for These Warning Signs
Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.