Timeshare Scams: Sympathy for the Devil

August 15th, 2013

Back in 2009, a new type of scam popped up on the timeshare resale scene: The owner receives a call out of the blue from a stranger claiming their timeshare “is already sold” and then asks for several thousand dollars to complete the transaction. Of course, there is no buyer and the scammers disappear along with the money. I imagine that, when this hustle was still fairly fresh, it might have been believable to some owners desperate to sell after the recession.

On this blog, we warned timeshare owners of this “already sold” scam back in February of 2010. Elsewhere, throughout both the timeshare industry and mainstream media, similar warnings were issued around the same time. Yet, despite countless warnings – not to mention the obviously dubious story – timeshare owners continue to fall for this stupid trick. It’s almost enough to give you sympathy for the devil.

the-devil-you-know-will-not-sell-your-timeshareOkay, so maybe not sympathy exactly… But I have to state the obvious here: If you are willing to wire $3,000 to Mexico because someone called you on the phone with a catchy story, you are going to get just what you deserve. I have to wonder how someone that dumb would come into possession of $3,000 to begin with? My guess would be inheritance or personal injury settlement.

Last year, my 88 year old Grandfather received a call from Mexico: The caller told him that his grandson (he only has one, so he assumed they meant me) had been injured, arrested in Mexico, and needed $1,500 for bail ASAP. This call clearly put him into a panic, and my Grandfather was willing to pay to save me from a terrible Mexican prison – but he is not a complete idiot. After telling the caller that he’d need time to get the money together and needed to arrange a call-back, he hung up the phone and called my home number. My wife answered and assured him that I was at work here in Atlanta, not in a Mexican prison. My Grandfather kept his emotions in check – and kept his money. (Despite being particularly vulnerable due to early-stage Alzheimer’s.)

Yet, when timeshare owners wire money to someone they don’t know because they believe a fairly tale about their timeshare being sold, it’s the legitimate timeshare resale industry that gets the blame: More onerous regulations are passed and imposed upon law-abiding companies, more articles are written about “timeshare scams” that draw no distinction between the real and fake timeshare resale industry, and more consumers simply detest all timeshare resale companies because of being “burned.”

I say enough already! If someone gets tricked into wiring their money to a timeshare scam it is not my fault, it is not my company’s fault, and it is not the fault of the timeshare industry at large. If you have paid thousands of dollars because you thought your timeshare was already sold, you my friend have poor judgement at best – at worst, you are an idiot and your money probably ought to be in someone Else’s hands anyway.

This may sound harsh, it certainly is not politically-correct, but it’s true. We should not regulate every single aspect of our great country because of the stupid few, or we’ll just get more of this:

a-stupid-proof-society

Entry Filed under: Avoiding Timeshare Scams,Perceptions,Resale Market,Sell Timeshare

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Emilie Houston  |  August 16th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Timeshare fraud has been around since the timeshare idea was created, but they increase during poor economy. When times are difficult, timeshare owners are stuck with properties they can´t travel to or even afford. Desperate to recoup some money to pay for bills, they can easily become victims to scams artists pretending to be their timeshare salvation who will take upfront fees -as much as five number figures in some cases- but fail to fulfill their promise.

  • 2. Marianne J.  |  August 17th, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Great point Emilie. Perhaps the moral fabric of society has been increasingly tainted in hard times. But personal accountability for ones decisions Should be preserved.

  • 3. Yaneli Roberts  |  March 21st, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    When the economy is tough, timeshare scams increase. During difficult times, unhappy timeshare owners are stuck with a vacation ownership they can’t afford anymore. In the desperation to get rid of their timeshares, they turn out to be easy targets for fraudulent timeshare-related companies, and many of them become victims of a timeshare rip off.

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