Phone scams, particularly those relating to timeshares, are becoming increasingly common. In recent years, timeshare phone scams increasing and perpetrators have also become more sophisticated in their tactics, using call spoofing, ring less voicemail, and text messaging.
When it comes to telephone scams, the connection to the timeshare resale industry is not always immediately apparent and phone scams can range from simple telemarketing calls to sophisticated schemes of contact. For instance, phone scammers may offer timeshare owners the chance to sell their timeshares at an inflated price or even solicit guaranteed timeshare cancellation services for a fee.
Phone scams are a serious issue and it is important for consumers to be aware of the potential risks associated with these phone solicitations. Protecting yourself from scams like these require being aware of the warning signs and taking precautionary steps to avoid becoming a victim.
Avoid Telephone Solicitations Completely
The best way to protect yourself from phone scams is to be vigilant and report any questionable phone calls or messages to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB is dedicated to helping consumers navigate telephone solicitations and can provide assistance in reporting phone scam incidents. Additionally, it is important to remember that legitimate timeshare companies will never call or email you to offer their resale or exit services and any phone calls alleging otherwise should be considered highly suspicious.
BBB Warns of Rising Phone Scams Targeting Timeshare Owners
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has highlighted that, in the last few years, phone scams specifically targeting timeshare owners have become more and more common. The BBB was interviewed in a recent article about travel and vacation scams called:
Regional BBB President Shannon Siegferth shared some important advice with the Akron Beacon Journal. She said, “No matter who you suspect may be on the phone, I would recommend never giving out personal information to an unsolicited caller. If you suspect a scam, hang up. If you feel the call was legitimate, verify the number independently and then call back. Do not feel pressured with time or let ‘a deal’ limit your due diligence in proper research of any organization, prior to purchasing.”
Fraudulent Telephone Vacation Offers
Not all travel and vacation sites are genuine – Be sure to investigate these sites thoroughly before making any online reservations with an unfamiliar service. In many cases, scammers will call, take you to their website and offer a free or heavily discounted vacation in exchange for a reservation payment. These phone calls are usually from companies offering to take over ownership of your timeshare and then resell it, but they also require the consumer to pay a large up-front fee.
Additionally, timeshare owners should never provide financial information to any unsolicited callers. Phone fraudsters utilize relentless tactics to manipulate their victims into feeling a sense of urgency and making payments or signing agreements without delay. This brings to mind the old adage: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
Questionable Communications From Solicitors
If you receive a phone call related to a timeshare, it is imperative that you take steps to ensure the caller is legitimate before divulging any personal or financial information. You should always ask for the caller’s name, company name, phone number, and address before engaging in any conversation.
It is essential that you research any phone or online offer before making a payment or signing an agreement. The BBB’s Scam Tracker can help identify phone scams and offers related to travel.
“We advise consumers to ensure the company they are looking to purchase from clearly and prominently provides a direct and effective means to contact the organization. This includes a phone number, physical address and email address,” Siegferth told the Beacon Journal.
What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed
If you believe you may have been scammed, it is important to reach out to the #BBB and file a ScamTracker report. Your local BBB may be able provide further assistance and resources in resolving the issue. Additionally, it is recommended that you contact your phone service provider, cancel any credit card charges associated with the scam (if applicable), and file a police report.
Take legal action if needed and speak with an attorney about your rights as a consumer. You may be able to recover your losses if the phone scammers have broken any consumer protection laws.
In conclusion, by taking proactive steps to research phone solicitations, filing reports when needed, and consulting an attorney if necessary, you can protect yourself from phone scams associated with timeshares or travel packages.
Led by attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer with over 75 years experience in practice. The Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare related matters. For a free consultation, please contact us today at 855-FINN-LAW. Follow us on Twitter to learn more about timeshare phone scams.