Don’t Be Duped: How to Avoid Timeshare Scams

So, you’re feeling overwhelmed by the costs and responsibilities of owning a timeshare. Then one day, the phone rings or a mailer arrives and it seems like the perfect solution to your problems. In fact, it seems too good to be true—because it is. The trouble is, when people are feeling desperate it’s easy to mistake a snare for a lifeline.

At Lonestar Transfer, where we have proudly helped timeshare owners for years, our clients often seek out our services only after they have been scammed by other, less scrupulous entities. Time and time again, clients have shared with us an all-too-familiar account of how they were scammed out of money from so-called timeshare listing companies. In virtually every case, those fraudulent companies made hollow promises to sell the client’s timeshare. They also wheedled upfront fees out of the client. Invariably, the story ended the same way: “They never sold the timeshare.”

It’s a fact: The more informed you are as a consumer, the less likely you are to fall victim to scams. That’s why Lonestar Transfer is working hard to provide resources for avoiding timeshare scams. Please check back often, as we continue to update our website with links to informative videos and articles. In the meantime, we offer you the following advice.

Five Tips for Spotting Timeshare Scams

At Lonestar Transfer, we’re in the business of helping clients. So when client after client turned to us after getting scammed by ruthless individuals and fake companies, we decided to do something about it. Here are five important tips to keep in mind as a timeshare owner. These tips will help you screen out fraud and identify legitimate timeshare service providers.

You’re probably dealing with timeshare scammers, when . . .
1. They contact you out of the blue.

Be wary of individuals or entities that make cold calls or send you mailers that you never requested. Be downright suspicious if they seem to know key details of your specific timeshare situation. That is a sure sign that you are being sought out in a predatory manner.

2. They claim to represent an interested realtor or buyer.

Walk away—fast—from anyone who claims, “We have a buyer for your timeshare!” In nearly all such cases, scam operators refuse to tell you who that so-called buyer is, claiming respect for their privacy. Sound fishy? It is. There is no buyer.

Some phony agents go so far as to cite the name of an actual realtor, saying that the realtor wishes to list or buy your timeshare for resale. Trouble is, the crook is just “borrowing” the realtor’s identity—a realtor who has no idea that this is going on. To put it more bluntly, the scammers are stealing an innocent party’s identity while lying to another innocent party—you.

3. They don’t have an actual office.

Many scam companies operate from inside and outside of the U.S. Do you really want to deal with a company that you can’t prove exists? Don’t take chances. If the company doesn’t have a bricks-and-mortar office located in the U.S., with actual staff that you could meet in person, avoid it.

4. They play numbers games

Does the company have a 900 number? Don’t call. You could wind up paying high charges just for being on hold. Does the company charge a fee for even a brief consultation? That’s a red flag. Does the company cite cash values that can’t possibly be right. They aren’t. Do they speak in a rapid-fire style, hitting you with numbers that don’t add up? That’s no coincidence. Scam artists often deliberately seek to confuse their victims by quickly presenting lots of unrelated detail. Stay away from anyone who doesn’t give you clear, straightforward answers to your questions.

Five Tips for Spotting Timeshare Scams

Are you being offered prizes, trips, and more common offering a free dinner to come listen to a “presentation” in a hotel meeting room? Those so-called freebies can cost you plenty. Some scammers ask the hapless prizewinner to pay a “refundable processing fee.” The scammer then keeps the money and no prize ever arrives.

Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. It’s important to ask many questions and to use your common sense. Above all, be sure to work with a reputable company. At Lonestar Transfer, we bring clarity to every step of the process, so that you can move forward with complete confidence.