Fraud investigators warn of timeshare scams

DENVER – Timeshares are great for getaways, but when you no longer need to use the property, trying to sell it can put you at risk.

More than 1 million people own timeshares in Mexico. The FOX31 Problem Solvers learned criminals are figuring out how to contact owners desperate to drop those timeshares and offer them a deal that really is too good to be true.

A Georgia woman says she received a call from a company called Business Financial Management offering to buy her timeshare, saying, “within 48 hours you would receive the 54-thousand that’s sitting in transit.” Her name has been withheld to protect her identity.

Fraud investigators say one should never prepay a company to sell a timeshare, even if they say they have a buyer lined up. The woman says she wired more than $45,000 dollars to the company to get out of a $30,000 timeshare with annual maintenance fees of $1,200.

She tells investigative reporters at Atlanta’s FOX affiliate WAGA, “I trust the people too much.”

The woman filed a complaint, then attempted to get her money returned. She says a representative said they were under investigation by the Mexican government and provided documents from supposed Mexican banks and government offices.

A closer look reveals the same name on the signature line of several documents. The woman recorded a call during which a man offered her a solution saying, “Just take your freaking complaint off. You’ll get your money back!” The Problem Solvers tried to contact the company several times, but the office was not occupied at the time. Our calls were not returned.

Fraud investigator Ezra Coopersmith of the Denver Better Business Bureau says the best way to protect yourself is to only sell through one source: the company from which the timeshare was purchased.

"Never try to sell your timeshare with a retailer who’s asking for money upfront," said Coopersmith.

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