Timeshare and vacation rental scams guarantee sales or promise low prices. Do your research and always be wary of requests for payment by wire transfer or prepaid debit cards.
Timeshares and vacation rentals are a great way to travel and have the comforts of home. However, scammers love to take advantage of vacationers by making false promises and creating a sense of urgency to fool them into paying for something that doesn’t exist.
How the Scam Works:
In travel and vacation scams, con artists post listings for properties that either aren’t for rent, don’t exist, or are significantly different than pictured. They then lure in vacationers with the promise of low fees and great amenities. Typically, the “owner” creates a false sense of urgency – maybe another vacationer is interested in the rental – to get you to pay up before doing sufficient research.
Another common travel scam is the timeshare resale con. A timeshare owner who is looking to sell gets a call from someone claiming to be a real estate broker or agent. These scammers claim to specialize in timeshare resales and promise they have buyers ready to purchase. To secure this service, the scammer pressures the target into paying an upfront fee. The timeshare owner pays up, but the reselling agent never delivers.
Tips to Spot This Scam:
Don’t wire money or use a prepaid debit card. You should never pay for a vacation rental by prepaid debit card or wire transfer. These payments are the same as sending cash. Once you send the money, you have no way to get it back. That’s why scammers depend upon these forms of payment.
If it’s too good to be true it probably isn’t. Scammers lure in targets by guaranteeing sales or promising vacation rentals at low prices. Do your research. In general, free online ad services are going to be the most risky.
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