Derek received an email from Joseph Manning a man claiming to be interested in purchasing his vacation resort week. Transcript of the email exchange is described below:
Derek contacted Timeshare Specialists to make sure he was not getting scammed. Good for Derek! He was definitely being set up for a scam.
Scammers name and contact information:
Joseph Manning – email@example.com
The scammer says he is going to use First American Title Transfer, which is a legitimate company. In this scam, he sends a deposit check and a request for it to be deposited and then has the seller send a check or wire to a third party broker. But the third party broker is just an associate of the scam artist who made the first point of contact.
Once the seller deposits the check or wires funds to the fake broker, his bank will call and tell him that the check is fraudulent and he is now on the hook for the missing funds.
This scam is a bit different than typical Mexican timeshare scams because it doesn’t involve nice looking websites or real looking contracts. It is, however, another scam that is running rampant in the industry.
There were several warning signs our timeshare specialist identified in the email correspondence between Derek and Joseph Manning that was sent to us for review. Here’s a list of the red flags we found in the email exchange.
1. The buyer claims to have a hearing impairment. This is a sly ploy used by fraudulent buyers so. so they don’t have to give you a phone number or ask you to speak on the phone. We have seen this phony issues numerous times before.
2. Seller wants to send you a check for a deposit on the timeshare purchase. A legitimate buyer-seller agreement involves a licensed and insured timeshare escrow and closing company to accept funds and disburse them to the parties involved. You do not send money to a broker, a sales agent, and certainly not the buyer!
Think about it, why would a stranger send you a check? You could run away with the money and never answer his emails. The buyer would have no recourse.
3. A deliberate misspelling of email address. This one is often overlooked by victims, but we have noticed a trend. The scammers use this to test your alertness. If you don’t notice, they think perhaps you’re an easier target.
4. “Vacation rental company” calls wanting to buy your timeshare, but doesn’t know which timeshare you own. So they ask you. A legitimate company would know what they were looking for when they call you. However, a scammer can easily contact you from a timeshare listing site and have all the information on your timeshare, which may sound legitimate to an owner. Which bring us to our next point.
5. A “buyer” contacts you out of the blue. Don’t trust unsolicited offers to do anything with your timeshare! If you did not initiate contact with a company tread very carefully.
6. The offer is way overpriced. Do a quick search on the web to assess the current value of your timeshare. If he is offering 12K and you find one on eBay selling for $500 (click here to search timeshare prices on eBay), you are probably getting conned.