People trying to dump unwanted ownership in timeshare vacation resorts are being further victimized by scammers advertising resale solutions when in fact all they’re doing is tricking people into paying up-front fees on sales that never happen, Carr said in a news release posted on his website.
Criminals pose as representatives of vacation travel agencies, title companies or escrow agents, even stealing corporate identities to further the scheme, Carr said.
Much of the illegal activity has targeted owners of timeshares located in Mexico, Carr said.
The timeshare owners receive a phone call or email from someone purportedly working for a travel company. The caller tells the consumers that there is a buyer interested in purchasing their timeshare property. While the timeshare sale is supposedly pending, the scammers tell the consumers there are fees or taxes connected with the sale that must be paid upfront, and that money must be wired to an agent, often located in another country.
This goes on until the sellers either inform victims that the sale has fallen through, or until the victims say they’ve had enough and want out of the deal. But of course they can’t recover their money, according to Carr.
The Better Business Bureau serving metro Atlanta, Athens and northeast Georgia recently announced it has received complaints alleging that a timeshare reseller calling itself “Escrow Corp of Georgia” is scamming consumers, Carr said. The name sounds like but is not a legitimate company called ESCROW CORP. OF GEORGIA, Carr said. The only difference in the company names is that the legitimate business’ name is capitalized and has a period following “CORP.”
The Attorney General’s Office is teaming with the Better Business Bureau and the Secretary of State’s office. They offered tips on Carr’s website and suggested information about such scams be reported to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit.