"That's all we talk about, is getting rid of this. This is the biggest mistake we've ever made," Mann said
of a timeshare.
The victim received a telemarketing call from someone claiming to be from Coastal Properties in
California, who said they were sitting across from someone who just made an offer to purchase the timeshare. The victim was told that she needed to send a $500. prepaid cash card to cover title search fees.
So she turned to the sheriff's department and filed a report, but the sheriff tells Local 6 the chances of tracing the call and tracking the scammer is slim to none.
WPSD Local 6's Jason Hibbs reached out to Coastal Properties in California. The owner said the caller does not work for their company and this is the first time, to their knowledge, that anything like this has happened. They said they'll work closely with law enforcement to try and track down the person using their company name.
This is another example of con artists using identity theft techniques to appear to be a legitimate company. counting on the victim to fail to research or verify the information.
There are a few simple strategies that will protect a consumer from this type of crime.
1) First and foremost- any telemarketing cold call promsing to sell or rent your timeshare is a scam! Unless you have purposefully placed ads showing your contact information, there is no way a legitimate timeshare resale brokerage will be able to obtain your information. Legitimate resale brokers do not purchase or call blackmarket owner lists, so the easiest way to avoid this type of telemarketing fraud is to simply hang up the phone!
2) Do not pay ANY type of upfront or advance fee to sell a timeshare! If you are selling or renting a timeshare through a third party brokerage, there is absolutely no reason to pay any type of advance fee. The timeshare resale process should proceed in the exact same manner as a residential home sale. You choose a respected broker who should be able to provide you with a free valuation of the timeshare's expected resale value. You list your property with that broker with an written agreement showing any and all costs or commissions that will be due if the timeshare is sold. The broker pays for advertising to secure a buyer. Once a buyer is located, a third party closing agency will provide you with an itemized breakdown of closing fees including any commissions due to the brokerage. You can compare this breakdown with the original listing agreement and the amounts should match! Any payments required from you (unless you are upside down and owe more than the selling price) will be deducted from your sale proceeds at closing. You don't send in money, you just receive a little less from the sale price!
3) Does it pass the "Smell Test"? Finally, pay attention to your own common sense! Take a deep breath and always wait a day before you make a final decision. A timeshare that is purchased or sold on impulse will often lead to regret! Ask yourself if the promised transaction makes any sense. For instance, in the example above- why would a prepaid cash card be required from a legitimate company? Why would a legitimate company insist that you pay with an untraceable form of payment? The easy answer is that a legitimate reseller would not!