Timeshare consumers in Wisconsin are being urged to take caution and be on the lookout for a “sophisticated timeshare resale scam” currently targeting citizens of the state, according to the Wisconsin Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
According to a report first brought to our attention by timeshare news site Inside the Gate, the agencies have…
“…received reports from consumers who followed through on fraudulent offers to sell their timeshare properties. The victims were repeatedly asked to send money to overseas entities and were threatened by phony law enforcement officials when they stopped engaging with the scammers.”
Both agencies are collaborating with local law enforcement agencies to look into the matter, according to Inside the Gate.
This story is an important reminder of the prevalence of the timeshare resale scam for consumers across the U.S.
This all-too-common scheme, which dupes Americans out of thousands every year, relies on misinformation and fear to take effect – which is all the more reason to educate yourself of its ins and outs now, particularly if you actually are looking to sell off your interest or attain a negotiated termination of your timeshare contract.
The Wisconsin DOJ offers some practical advice to get started, urging consumers to be skeptical if they receive:
Unsolicited phone calls or emails regarding timeshare resales, even if the consumer had previously placed classified advertisements to sell the properties.
Urgent requests for payments. Victims are often encouraged to complete every payment as soon as possible, or the entire deal could collapse and they could lose the money they had already spent. In actuality, criminals pressure victims to take quick action knowing that any extra time could give a consumer a chance to think through the actions or ask for advice from others.
Demands for payment by wire transfer. Wiring money is like sending cash – once it is sent, it is nearly impossible to recover.
The Inside the Gate report also offers the important reminder that “this fraudulent operation can take several forms,” including “advance-fee fraud for the sale of the timeshare property, extortion, and/or advance-fee fraud for a phony victim compensation fund.” In the latter case, consumers may actually be subjected to a “double-dip” scam, in which they are targeted by the same fraudulent actors twice!
For more on how to avoid becoming entangled in a timeshare resale scam, we encourage you to read the FTC’s handy infographic on the subject, available here. If you have any concerns that an offer relating to your timeshare interest seems too good to be true, it probably is; don’t hesitate to thoroughly research any and all companies offering to sell your timeshare, and be ready to reach out to consumer protection agencies for your state should you suspect foul play.
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.