Timeshare resale scammers use many different methods to target innocent timeshare owners who are looking to sell. They’ll make unsolicited phone calls to these owners, telling them that someone is already interested in buying their timeshare. They’ll tell potential customers that for an upfront fee, they’ll buy their timeshare and take care of all the selling without actually disclosing how they’re going to do it.
Both these tactics are common tricks that scammers pull to get you to hand over your money and information. Once they have it, they’ll give you the runaround for a few weeks and then you’ll never hear from them again.
Timeshare resale companies, or entities claiming to be them, have found more savvy ways to prey upon timeshare owners. And many of them operate out of Mexico. These operations are privy to the bad reputation that resale companies have within the timeshare industry and have found ways to establish a sense of trust with owners.
They do this by posing as reputable companies with good reviews on Better Business Bureau and stockpiles of customers with successful sales. Once they’ve gotten the timeshare owner to trust them with their money, the manipulation begins. If you want to avoid a situation like this, here’s a guide to recognizing and avoiding timeshare resale scams from Mexico.
Timeshare resale scams are always unpleasant to deal with. But when they are operated from another country, a whole new level of corruption enters the arena. These international scammers don’t have to play by the rules that normally apply to domestic timeshare law. They are willing to lie about who they are and how much you’ll make from your resale.
Here’s how they go about tricking you into working with them.
There are innumerable stories from people who were contacted by fake timeshare resellers that ended up being from a heist run from Mexico. For example, in 2022, a Chicago timeshare owner was contacted by a local company under the name of Intercontinental Realty. This alleged real estate company claimed that they could sell his Cancun, Mexico timeshare for over a million dollars—an absolutely unheard of price for a used timeshare property.
Enticed by the high selling price and promise of escaping his timeshare contract, the owner was convinced that the company could provide him with legitimate real estate broker services. He then proceeded to fill out a series of documents and obliged when they asked him to provide money upfront. But as he continued to work with Intercontinental Realty, the owner was constantly bombarded with requests for more money. It got to the point where they had drained $300,000 from his bank account.
Now in a financially vulnerable spot with no known progress on his resale, the owner hired a private investigator. The investigator reached out to the employees of Intercontinental Realty and scheduled multiple meetings with them, but no one ever showed up. He went to their alleged company address only to find that there wasn’t an office located there. It was a dorm for the Art Institute of Chicago. The investigator’s numerous attempts to call the company resulted in several unreturned voicemails.
The company’s final attempt at legitimacy was squandered when the private investigator linked the owner’s wire transfers to Mexico. It was then confirmed that Intercontinental Realty was not a Chicago-based timeshare reseller that could achieve a million-dollar timeshare sale. The only thing left to do was reach out to the Mexican consulate in hopes of tracking down the con artist behind it all. Though the consulate was able to confirm the forgery that took place, no culprit was ever identified.
Situations like these happen more easily than you’d think. And while a quick google search of a fake company may seem like an easy way to identify a scam, many of these fraud resellers are hard to spot. They create realistic business profiles, provide real phone numbers and email addresses, and have real-life people pretending to be employees.
Some of these schemers even use the identities of trusted companies as a front.
According to the California Bureau of Real Estate, fraud perpetrators have been caught using the names of existing real estate licensees in order to engage in illegal transactions like timeshare resales. This is made possible by how simple it is to access information about existing real estate companies and the licensees who work for them — even their license numbers can be viewed online.
Because it’s easy to establish credibility by taking on the name of a verified business or professional, timeshare owners often fall for this resale trap.
Identity theft is a common tactic among resale scammers operating out of Mexico. That’s why it’s so important to be able to identify the red flags of timeshare fraud. If the person you are talking to asks for a picture of a check, wire transfers, gift cards, pre-paid card payments, or other suspicious forms of payment, they are likely trying to scam you.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also warns that some of these scammers will ask you to open an account with a specific bank and make an initial deposit into this account. This too is a sign that they are not who they say they are and that you should halt communication before unknowingly creating an account with a Mexican bank.
Anyone who’s invested a fortune into annual maintenance fees wants to hear that their timeshare is actually worth something. So when you get a phone call saying that your timeshare is worth double what you bought it for, why would you be skeptical? Unfortunately, these too-good-to-be-true sales pitches are just that. Timeshare resale scams from Mexico are hoping that the allure of a return on your timeshare investment will get you to buy into their scheme. And oftentimes it does.
Timeshare resale companies in Mexico will cold call timeshare owners with the promise that there’s already a buyer waiting to snatch up their property. They say that the property is much more valuable than it actually is to get the owner invested. They’ll make the upfront fees you’re paying them seem minuscule in comparison to what you could make on a resale. But it’s all lies.
In reality, it’s extremely rare to make any money on a timeshare resale. After all, the timeshare industry succeeds by selling people new timeshares. Consumers don’t want to purchase a used unit for as much, or more, than they can buy something that no one else has ever vacationed in.
Plus, it’s hard to find a buyer or even find someone to take over a timeshare for free. After all, why would someone want to take on the burden of paying the exorbitant maintenance fees that you are trying to avoid?
So if you were already suspicious of a company’s legitimacy, their overly optimistic claims about how much you can gain on a resale, they are certainly not legitimate.
Timeshare resale scams from Mexico operate on the basis of over promising and under delivering. Numerous resale scammers out of Mexico have successfully convinced timeshare owners to give out their private information and wire thousands of dollars to them. These owners are so eager to get rid of their unwanted timeshares that they look past the warning signs. How are they supposed to know that these transactions are actually being operated by some scammer in Cabo or Puerto Vallarta?
These fraudsters operate fake “American companies” or steal the identity of legitimate companies and guarantee owners a big profit on their timeshare sale. But in the end, they’ll give you nothing but stress, debt, and an unsold timeshare property.
If you want to work with a legitimate and reputable company, reach out to Centerstone Group. We can help you achieve a timeshare exit quicker and for a better value than any other exit company or law firm. We are also the only timeshare exit team with the ability to get clients out of a Mexican timeshare contract. So whether you are looking to escape your timeshare property in Mexico, Florida, or anywhere else, give us a call to see how we can help you.