It is our duty at Club Caribe to keep our valuable members informed of any scams that may target both potential vacation club owners as well as happy members. Despite the great efforts of genuine timeshare companies like Club Caribe, it is unfortunate that vacation ownership scams are still a threat, albeit much less prevalent than in previous years.
You may ask yourself: “How is it possible to be involved in a scam if I am a member of a reputable vacation club like Club Caribe?” You may be surprised to read about the variety of ways that scammers attempt to defraud current members as well as wouldbe owners. Indeed, it seems that these days scammers will stop at nothing; they will even disguise themselves as government officials or lawyers claiming to protect you from the very scams they are weaving.
The best way to stay ahead of a timeshare scam is to be forewarned and forearmed, so please take some time to read about the kinds of scams that could affect you below.
You probably already know about why it is better to purchase timeshare membership directly from a reputable company like Club Caribe rather than buy a resale, but it is worth mentioning the dangers involved, which include: purchasing a non existent membership; buying fewer years than advertised; not being able to enjoy the full benefits of the original members etc. However, you may not realize that as happy vacation owners, you could still become a target for resale scams. How? Resale scammers contact the owners of the best timeshares on the market claiming that they have a buyer for your membership. Usually the price offered is a really great deal and even the most happy owners can be tempted. The scam comes when you are asked to pay an introduction fee to a buyer that doesn’t exist. Such fraudsters may contact you by telephone, email or even letter.
Rental scams are one of the more common ways that vacation owners can be caught by fraudsters because renting can seem appealing if you are unable to use your club time for some reason. Much like the way that resale fraudsters work, if you are asked to pay an upfront fee before you have a potential renter for you property, beware. There are plenty of legitimate agencies, so try to find one that works on commission, or rent privately through friendship and family circles.
Scams to protect you from scams
The irony is that one of the most cunning and popular scams right now is one which is a scam claiming to protect you from scams. Fraudsters contact you saying that they are calling from the Mexican government or law firms to provide you with protection from all the scams out there. Pretending to be officials, they are in fact themselves the scammers! You may also come across these types of scams when searching on the internet for information about timeshare and vacation clubs.
What you can do if you are involved in a scam
If you think you have been involved in a scam, you should report the incident to Club Caribe members services as soon as possible, providing as many facts and details as you can. Then, it is recommended that you make an official complaint to the Business Fraud Division at the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-382-4357. You should also make a complaint at the attorney general’s office for your state, whose number you should be able to find on the internet or in the yellow pages. Keep a copy of all written materials and any emails that you receive to build a case and report any further interaction with the scammers.
With any luck and some savvy, you will never need to follow this advice!