Scam of the day – June 28, 2017 – FTC paying victims of timeshare resale scam

Timeshares are a legitimate vacation option for many people, but resales have sometimes been difficult for timeshare owners and scammers have been  preying upon timeshare owners trying to sell their interests with promises of buyers that never materialize after charging the timeshare owners upfront fees of sometimes thousands of dollars.

The FTC took action recently against one of these timeshare resale scammers, Information Management Forum, Inc which did business as Vacation Property Marketing as well as its owner Edward Lee Windsor.  In this scam, victims were lured by telemarketing calls into paying registration fees for a service that the scammers promised would provide renters or buyers for the victims’ timeshare units.  Unfortunately, it was all a scam.  Fortunately, the FTC was able to recover funds that are now being returned to the victims of this particular timeshare scam.

TIP

If you were a victim of this particular scam, go to the top of the page and click on “FTC Scam Refunds” for more specific information about the refund program.

As for anyone who is considering selling their timeshare unit, always check out the legitimacy of anyone proposing to help you sell your timeshare.  You can check with your state’s attorney general at and your local consumer protection agencies.  Make sure you have a lawyer review any contract before you sign it and it is a good idea not to pay in advance for the services of someone purporting to assist you in reselling your timeshare unit.

Scam of the day – December 28, 2013 – Target reloading scam

Many of you may be wondering why I have been writing about the Target hacking so often recently.  Certainly it is true that 40 million people are affected by the Target scam and the more information that I can provide to those people, the better they will be, but even if you are not one of those people directly affected by the Target hacking, the lessons provided by this hacking apply to us all.

Reloading is the name for the scam when scammers go back to victims of scams, identity theft or hacking purporting to provide assistance in straightening out the mess created when the victim was first harmed, when in fact, what the scammers are actually doing is getting more money out of the victim under the guise of helping the victim or getting more personal information from the victim that leads to further identity theft of the victim.   This is just starting to happen in response to the Target hacking.  Although, Target has legitimately been contacting its customers by emails, so have identity thieves either purporting to be Target or a consumer protection agency.  In both cases, the identity thieves attempt to lure the victims into clicking on links in the emails which either download malware on to the victim’s computer and permit the identity thief to steal all of the information from the victim’s computer and lead to the person becoming a further victim of identity theft or the link will lead to a page in which the victim is prompted to provide personal information directly which will lead to identity theft.  In other circumstances, the victim is told that he or she must pay for assistance from the phony consumer protection agency.

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No legitimate consumer protection agency such as the Federal Trade Commission or your local state attorney general’s consumer protection division ever requires you to pay for their services.  Also, as I constantly warn you, do not click on links in email regardless of how legitimate the emails look until you have confirmed that they are indeed legitimate.  In the case of Target, as with other companies, don’t click on the links in their emails, but rather go directly to their legitimate website at an address that you know is accurate for further information.  Also, do not provide personal information to anyone until you have confirmed that the person, company or agency is both legitimate and has a real need for the information.  Finally, make sure that your computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone are all protected with the latest anti-malware software and keep that software up to date.

Scam of the day – May 3, 2012 – Time share scams

Timeshare sales have had more than their share of scams involved with them, but in the last three years the number of people victimized by time share scams have increased dramatically.   Recently, 22 people were indicted for timeshare resale fraud in Illinois.   In Florida, timeshare resale fraud is the subject of the greatest number of consumer complaints.  Timeshares are a legitimate vacation option for many people, but particularly since the economy first soured in 2008, resales have been difficult for many people and the scammers have come in to prey upon timeshare owners trying to sell their interests with promises of buyers that never materialize after charging the timeshare owners upfront fees of between $2,000 and $8,000 that vanishes with the scammers.

TIP

Always check out the legitimacy of anyone proposing to help you sell your timeshare.  You can check with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org, your state’s attorney general at www.naag.org and your local consumer protection agencies at www.consumeraction.gov.  Make sure you have a lawyer review any contract before you sign it and it is a good idea not to pay in advance for the services of someone purporting to assist you in reselling your timeshare unit.