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According to the FBI, in the typical scam, timeshare owners receive unexpected or uninvited telephone calls or e-mails from criminals posing as sales representatives for a timeshare resale company. The representative promises a quick sale, often within 60 to 90 days.

The FBI is warning that sales representatives often use high-pressure sales tactics to add a sense
of urgency to the deal. Some victims have reported that sales representatives pressured them by
claiming there was a buyer waiting in the wings, either on the other line or even present in the

Then comes the hook: timeshare owners who agree to sell their property are told that they need
to pay an upfront fee to cover anything from listing and advertising fees to closing costs. Many
victims have provided credit cards to pay the fees ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand
dollars. Once the fee gets paid, timeshare owners report that the company becomes evasive. Calls
go unanswered, numbers get disconnected, and websites become inaccessible.

But the scams don’t even end there.

In some cases, timeshare owners who have been defrauded by a timeshare sales scheme have
been subsequently contacted by an unscrupulous timeshare fraud recovery company as well. The
representative from the recovery company promises assistance in recovering money lost in the
sales scam. Some recovery companies require an up-front fee for services rendered, while others
promise no fees will be paid unless a refund is obtained for the timeshare owner.

There have even been some instances where people involved with the recovery company also
have a connection to the resale company, raising the possibility that timeshare owners are being
scammed twice by the same people.

If you get contacted by someone offering to sell or rent your timeshare, the FBI recommends
proceeding cautiously, and following some common sense tips to avoid becoming a victim of a
timeshare scheme:

Be wary if a company asks you for up-front fees to sell or rent your timeshare.

Read the fine print of any sales contract or rental agreement provided.

Check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure the company is reputable.

Next: Port St. Lucie Man Sentenced in Timeshare Fraud case

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