Nation's first timeshare scam hotline

Bozeman, MT, 2017--Most timeshare owners never see it coming. They think they’ve just closed a deal to sell their property, when in reality they’ve just been scammed out of thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars.

One timeshare resale company just set up a hotline to prevent these scams before they happen.

The program was inspired by a real-life incident this year. Gary Ortiz, a timeshare owner from Massachusetts, called the company on a hunch.  He originally bought his timeshare for $32,000 and agreed to sell it for $24,000. The “buyer” even sent him a check for $2,900 as down payment.  However, Ortiz, who is an accountant for a city north of Boston, got suspicious when the buyer sent her down payment directly to him rather than to a third-party escrow company.

Ortiz called Timeshare Specialists in Montana to make sure everything was in order. It wasn’t. The buyer had instructed Ortiz to deposit her check for $2,900 into his account, and then to wire $2,400 of the funds to a broker who was facilitating the transaction with the closing company.

The experts at Timeshare Specialists recognized the scam and let Ortiz know that the down-payment check was going to bounce and that the broker was fake.

“What almost happened to Ortiz is just one of countless scams that happen to thousands of unsuspecting timeshare owners every year,” says John Kushman, an owner of Timeshare Specialists who was featured last year on the timeshare episode of Fox’s Bob Massi, The Property Man. “We get calls like this every month.”

In fact, the Better Business Bureau has identified the timeshare resale market as one of the nation’s most likely places to be scammed.

The experts at Timeshare Specialists now freely educate timeshare owners about these scams.   “We typically hear from owners after it’s too late,” say Kushman. “With this hotline, we want to turn that around and help clean up the resale market. Even if we’re only able to save one owner a month; that will be a start.”

Kushman encourages any timeshare owner selling their property to call the hotline.

“Timeshare scams are nearly countless,” Kushman says. “If you’re not an expert, they can be very hard to spot. They range from simple to complicated, but they’re typically all very convincing. We can help identify them for owners so they don’t fall victim.“

Owners can call tollfree at 800.965.6565.  There is no charge for the call.

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