The start of a new year brings with it immense hope that the coming year will be better than the last, and is a time for us to get a fresh start. Unfortunately, it is also a time to beware of fraudsters. To help you bolster your defenses against scammers, below are some valuable tips on how to spot and avoid scams.
There are several scams that tricksters use to target vacation club owners, knowing about them will help you stay protected. We want you to get the most out of your membership and to continue to enjoy the unforgettable vacation experiences that you and your family deserve.
Stay protected from potential scams and familiarize yourself with the most common scams. Here are some signs you may be dealing with a scam-artist:
Scammers know that a seemingly good deal is hard to pass up. They’ve been known to contact vacation club owners saying that they have an interested buyer who will pay them a lot of money for their timeshare. These scammers can be very charming and convincing, but the red flag here is when they tell you that you have to pay them a finder´s fee. Once you do that, the interested buyer disappears along with your money. The take-away: If you decide that you want to sell your timeshare, make sure you go through a reputable agent who takes a commission, rather than pay any upfront fees.
Rental Agency Scams
Another common scam is for rip-off artists to pose as rental agency agents. They will try to lure you in by promising that you can make a lot of money renting out your timeshare. Of course, that sounds good, doesn´t it? The problem is that their goal is not to give you money, but to get your money. They will tell you that before they can rent your timeshare out, that first you need to pay an upfront fee. This is the surest sign of a scam. If you are unable to travel and decide to rent your timeshare, do your research and select a well-known agency to help you. Make sure the agency charges a commission rather than taking any upfront fees.
You may get an unsolicited call from a company claiming to be a ´timeshare exit company´. The person you are talking to will claim to be a lawyer or an agent working on the lawyer´s behalf. They may invite you for lunch and tell you that they can legally cancel your timeshare contract without any penalty for you, however, in order to get you out of your timeshare, you will have to pay them thousands of dollars. These companies are not legit! If you are outside of the cooling off period, you cannot cancel your membership, and if you are still within the cooling off period, then you do not need their help.
Final Word of Advice
Being savvy when you’re in search of reselling or renting out your timeshare is well worth the effort. Never send money or pay any upfront fees to anyone who cold calls you. Going through a reputable company is your safest bet. Make sure you thoroughly research any company before you ask them for help with rental services or resale assistance. If a company is asking you for an upfront fee, it is most likely a scam. If in doubt, call Member Services at 1-877-722-4592
What if You Find Yourself Involved in a Scam?
If you think that you have been duped by a scammer, please report it! First, you should report it to the member services area of the Garza Blanca team, and then make subsequent complaints to the Federal Trade Commission’s business fraud division by calling 1-877-382-4357 as well as reporting it to your State Attorney General’s office. The details for your state attorney can be found online. Finally, report it to ARDA at the following link: http://www.arda.org/advisories.
Make sure you keep any and all communications you receive as these may be required at a later date!