People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. Unfortunately, there are too many individuals looking to take advantage of their desperation and devise schemes in which to scam timeshare owners out of even more money.
Many fraudsters use the timeshare marketplace because they know a good number of buyers have already been mis-led. After struggling to unsuccessfully negotiate an exit from their contracts through the resorts, many owners assume they are left with little option but to sell their timeshare. Unfortunately, there is little to no resale value to timeshare, but there are hundreds of timeshare resale scams.
One such re-sale scam, masterminded by serial scammer Daniel Boyer, netted him and his 20 co-conspirators over $3 Million. The scheme targeted and defrauded thousands of timeshare owners from all over the United States. Boyer stole private and confidential data of thousands of timeshare owners, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable, and persuaded unhappy owners to sell their timeshares.
Boyer has been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay back $3.37 million in damages. The Notorious Florida Based scammer was sentenced to 63 months in Federal prison, for defrauding more than 1,000 victims, many of whom were elderly, out of over $3.3 million.
Daniel Boyar from Orlando, Florida, ran an elaborate timeshare scam between October 2010 to April 2012. He and 20 co-defendants promised clients they could sell their timeshares for a profit, all the owner had to do was pay an upfront cost to facilitate the sale. In reality, there were no buyers and the timeshare sales never occurred.
How does a timeshare scam work?
A company may contact you out of the blue, but you must be especially cautious when you receive unsolicited phone calls from timeshare exit companies. Under new EU regulations, it is now illegal to cold-call people unless they have specifically agreed to being contacted. Any legitimate company would not willingly break the law in this way and risk the financial penalties in doing so. How did they obtain your information without you giving it to them? It was probably sold to them in an illegal manner, they will know all about your previous investments and your personal details, this gives them credibility when trying to sell their fraudulent services.
They make claims that sound too good to be true, unfortunately, they are. Anyone who claims to be able to re-sell your timeshare within a specified time period, or who has buyer lined up, is probably lying. The timeshare re-sale market is completely saturated and even if you do manage to make a sale, it will be nowhere near the price you originally paid for it.
They request upfront fees, they will ask for fees to be paid via a credit card, bank transfer or cheque. These fees are requested to cover registration fees, taxes or closing costs. Fraudsters may initially ask for a small fee but rely on the victims seeing this as a nominal amount worth paying if it facilitates the sale of the timeshare. Once paid, various excuses are made by the fraudsters to explain why the timeshare has not been sold yet. Subsequently, further larger amounts are then requested by the fraudsters. Needless to say, no sales ever materialise, and no money is ever refunded.
Protect yourself from timeshare fraud.
Always check that the details of the organisation or company contacting you, such as the website, address and phone number, are correct as the fraudsters may be posing as a legitimate organisation.
Challenge all calls, letters or emails from people or organisations you don’t know, or you have never contacted before. Ask how they have obtained your details and make a note of the call.
If you have been a victim to fraud in the past, seek independent advice before engaging with any organisation that is offering to help you. Callous fraudsters will often attempt to defraud people who have already fallen victim to fraud by offering to return what the victim has already lost.