Timeshare scammers steal $8,000 from elderly woman

scamDUPONT – The Better Business Bureau is warning Washingtonians about an uptick in timeshare scams. Since the beginning of the year, the BBB and the State Attorney General’s Office have received more than 50 complaints.

They say the scammers pose as real estate brokers who demand cash up front. They say an elderly woman lost $8,000 because of a scam.

“No matter what name the company uses, no legitimate timeshare resale business cold calls timeshare owners offering as much or more than what the owner originally paid,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “One of the easiest ways to spot a scam is to always refer back to the old adage: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Detect fraud red flags:

-        Upfront Payments: Be cautious of advance fees. Opt for a company that charges fees only after the property is sold.

-        Cash or Wire Transfer Only: Scammers will oftentimes demand that buyers pay with cash or wire transfer so that it makes it next to impossible to get the

money back. Use a credit card so that it’s easier to dispute the charges.

-        Failure to Disclose Information: Watch out for unlicensed companies and ones that refuse to provide a phone number or address.

-        Unqualified Guarantees: Be wary of “money-back” guarantees and promises that a timeshare can be sold within a certain period of time.

-        High Pressure: Ask companies to provide paperwork. Get all promises, fees and obligations in writing. Don’t be pressured; think it over and seek advice from

an unbiased legal professional.