Authorities in the U.S are investigating after a timeshare owner says he was conned out of $45,000 in a devastating timeshare scam.
The owner, who only wanted to be named as Ken, described how he was duped into handing over cash to a fraudster who contacted him out of the blue claiming to have a buyer for his timeshare in Cabo San Lucas. The man said he worked for Diversified Investment Holdings and wanted to pay $34,000 for the ‘exclusive timeshare week’ $12,000 more than Ken had initially paid for it.
The conman explained that there would be no fees to pay for the sale, but as soon as they had gained his trust, soon started asking for money. The company even had offices in Colorado a professional looking website and television commercial and seemed completely legitimate at first, however they started to ask for fees to facilitate the sale, explaining that all money would be refunded once the sale was complete. In fact Ken trusted this individual and the company he claimed to work for so much he handed over fees to cover income tax and foreign investment fees. Unfortunately for Ken, he only realised he was being scammed when it was too late and he was $45,000 worse off.
He told ABC news: “I was getting re-imbursed for everything, that’s why he kept saying I’m not out of pocket any money. “It’s everything. It’s the thing that’s really hard about it. My father passed away and that was inheritance money that I was using to try and make this timeshare thing work,” said Ken. “I can’t believe that I absolutely fell for this knowing from the beginning to where I’m at now,” he says.
Authorities are now investigating Ken’s case and found that the offices associated with the company are in fact virtual office spaces and Police in Colorado think the company is behind a half dozen similar scams and have stolen more than a million dollars from timeshare owners.
Action Fraud tips to avoid becoming a victim of timeshare fraud:
- Always check that the details of the organisation or company contacting you, such as the website, address and phone number, are correct as the fraudsters may be posing as a legitimate organisation.
- Be aware of recovery fraud if you’ve fallen victim to fraud in the past. Challenge or ignore any calls, letters or emails from people you don’t know or companies you’ve never contacted yourself.
- Ask how they found out that you had been a victim. Any report of fraud is protected by law and can’t be shared with anyone else outside of law enforcement agencies.
- Challenge any calls, letters or emails from people you don’t know or companies you’ve never contacted and if you’re asked to pay, or give your bank account details, end all contact.
- If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.