Timeshare scams in Mexico defraud victims of nearly $40 million

(FOX40.COM) – The Federal Bureau of Investigations Sacramento Office recently released a statement warning Californians about a timeshare scam in Mexico that has defrauded victims of nearly $40 million.

According to the FBI, this scam has been around for many years and involves timeshare owners receiving unexpected or unsolicited phone calls or emails from criminals posing as representatives of a timeshare resale company.

“The sellers often use high-pressure sales techniques to add a sense of urgency to the deal,” the agency said. “Timeshare owners who agree to sell are told they must pay an upfront fee to cover everything from listing and advertising fees to closing costs.”

Once the scammers receive the money, they either evade their phone numbers, making their websites inaccessible, or tell their victims that they must pay additional fees before the “real estate transaction” becomes final.

The FBI said the scams will go even further in some cases when scammers set up fake timeshare fraud recovery companies, which promise help to victims but require an “upfront payment for services.”

“Sometimes, scammers have (said) that they are a government entity requesting payments for fees related to the sale of the timeshare,” the FBI added.

The agency has provided some tips to prevent people from falling victim to this scam or similar ones:

  • Be cautious of unsolicited calls, texts, or emails from anyone interested in your timeshare.
  • Research all entities you interact with, contact offices independently to confirm whether you are speaking to a representative of their company, and seek the help of a broker or attorney you trust.
  • Scammers will use tactics such as pressure and time-sensitive offers.
  • Know that when opportunities seem “too good to be true,” they often are.