While summer doesn’t officially begin until June 20, many families are in the planning mode in March or even sooner, choosing where they want to go and where they want to stay. And, while summer vacations are usually a time to put down your phone, put away your laptop and enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation, everyone–particularly residents of Florida and other resort vacation venues–should be keenly aware of any vacation offers that sound to good to be true.
Con artists post listings for properties that are not for rent, do not exist, or are significantly different from what’s pictured. In another variation, scammers claim to specialize in timeshare resales and promise they have buyers ready to purchase your vacation property.
YOU…virtually all consumers are potential victims!
If you paid the fee to rent the vacation property, you may never hear from the company again and have nowhere to stay on your vacation. Similarly, if you pay any fees to sell your vacation property, you may never hear from the company or alleged buyer again.
How to avoid this scam
If you receive a call or email about a vacation property or see a post advertising a property at an unbelievable price, be cautious. Never wire money via Western Union or MoneyGram or give out credit card or checking account information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
When looking for travel accommodations, stick with travel brands you know and research reviews and company information for any company you are unfamiliar with. If using third party websites to book travel accommodations, be sure the site is secure. The web address should start with “https” and have a padlock icon near the address bar.
If you receive a call or email from a company claiming to have buyers available to purchase your timeshare or vacation property, do your research. Beware of high pressure sales tactics and pitches that require immediate payment, especially for closing costs or customs fees. Do not wire any money or transfer funds without having a legal professional review the contract. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.