skip to content
Primary navigation
Feature image for

News

Our mission is to protect the public interest, advocate for Minnesota consumers, ensure a strong, competitive and fair marketplace, strengthen the state’s economic future; and serve as a trusted public resource for consumers and businesses.

Minnesota Commerce Commissioner warns consumers of a new type of timeshare resale scam

3/8/2017 11:16:52 AM

For Immediate Release:

Throughout the country, regulators have recently received reports of a more sophisticated timeshare scam. Con artists impersonate licensed businesses in good standing to trick consumers into turning over money and then disappear without ever coming though with an interested buyer. 

“Consumers are becoming savvier and doing their homework before making financial decisions. Scammers know this and are adapting their tactics by using the names of legitimate businesses to lure timeshare sellers,” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “I want to remind Minnesotans to never pay an upfront fee to sell a timeshare.”

A timeshare owner may receive a phone call or email from someone who claims to be an eager buyer or an agent who promises they can sell the property at a good price –sometimes more than the property is worth. 

The scam happens when the timeshare owner is asked to make an upfront payment, allegedly  for closing costs, taxes, or other fees. The owner is instructed to wire funds to an offshore bank account with a promise that the money will be held in escrow until the sale is finalized. 

Many times, the scammer will then disappear with the owner’s money. Sometimes, however, they will ask for yet more money for fees that have suddenly “come up.” Either way, the owner rarely sees their money again.

Consumer Tips

The Commerce Department offers Minnesotans the following tips to avoid timeshare resale scams: 

  • Don’t pay upfront fees. Legitimate fees should be paid as part of the closing or deducted from the sale price. 
  • Don’t wire money or send a money order or cashier’s check. It is almost impossible to recover these funds if you have been scammed. 
  • Be wary of an overeager buyer. Scammers identify timeshare owners through public databases and real estate records. They will cold call or mail materials, offering purchase terms that are often too good to be true. These tactics are a red flag that the offer could be a scam.
  • Do some homework. Check the would-be buyer or agent’s name, phone number, and address on the internet. If you have trouble finding information, or if what you find looks suspicious, the offer could be a scam.
  • Contact the home timeshare resort where you own your timeshare. See if they have any information on the reseller who contacted you. Often, a resort will have its own buy-back or resale program, or it can provide a list of reputable agents.
  • Do not provide personal information, bank account information, or credit card information over the phone to a reseller. Remember, these scammers are also out to steal your personal information for identity theft.

Commerce is here to help 

If you have a concern or complaint about a possible timeshare resale scam, contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce Securities Section at securities.commerce@state.mn.us or 651-539-1637. 

You may also wish to file a complaint with the following federal agencies:

Media Contact:
Ross Corson
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
P: 651-539-1463 | C: 651-368-5050 | ross.corson@state.mn.us

Consumers

back to top