Con artists target victims of timeshare fraud
Between January 2018 and July 2018, 1,155 reports of timeshare recovery fraud were made to Action Fraud with the average victim losing £14,000.
Fraudsters are taking advantage of previous fraudulent or mis-sold timeshare schemes and are advising victims that they are owed compensation. Victims are being offered the opportunity, either by phone call or letter, to reclaim money back from their timeshare or to exit early for an upfront fee.
The requested fees range from £2,500 to £9,000 and additional fees have also been requested to cover maintenance or legal cover.
The victims, who are from across the UK, are aged between 50 and 81 years old.
Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said: “A shocking amount of timeshare recovery fraud losses have been reported to Action Fraud since January, which is why we are urging people to be extremely cautious. Fraudsters are luring people in with attractive offers of compensation or an early exit on a holiday property, only to then stop all contact once the victim has paid an advance fee.
“As with all victims of fraud, our reports show that timeshare fraud victims are vulnerable to recovery fraud. Callous fraudsters will often attempt to defraud people who have already fallen victim to fraud by offering to return what they have lost.
“If in doubt, always check directly with the relevant organisation to ensure the correspondence has come from a legitimate source. If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please report it to us.”
Chief executive of ABTA, Mark Tanzer, said: “We would advise people to be extremely wary of any company cold calling you out of the blue to talk about your timeshare and asking for payment. Travel related fraud often involves someone pretending to be a legitimate company when they actually turn out to be fake – so it’s important you check you are dealing with a reputable business before making any commitment.”
Action Fraud’s tips to protect yourself from timeshare recovery fraud
• Always check the details of the organisation or company contacting you, such as the website, address and phone number, are correct as the fraudsters may be posing as a legitimate organisation.
• Be aware of recovery fraud if you’ve fallen victim to fraud in the past. Challenge or ignore any calls, letters or emails from people you don’t know or companies you’ve never contacted yourself.
• Ask how they found out that you had been a victim. Any report of fraud is protected by law and can’t be shared with anyone else outside of law enforcement agencies.
• Challenge any calls, letters or emails from people you don’t know or companies you’ve never contacted and if you’re asked to pay, or give your bank account details, end all contact.
• If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.