Tips to Protect Yourself From Exit Company Schemes
Fraudulent or unscrupulous operators in the timeshare industry are always looking to steal from owners, finding ways to trick them into handing over money and personal information. With that in mind, it’s important to plan ahead and know what steps to take if you are the target of a fraudulent scheme. Stay safe with these strategies.
1. When in Doubt, Don’t Engage
When you receive unsolicited communications offering to sell, rent or advertise your timeshare, eliminate your maintenance fees, transfer ownership or cancel your contract, this is a cause for concern. Neither HGV nor RCI will ever reach out to you to rent or sell your timeshare. And if the offer you’re getting sounds too good to be true, it probably is. End the communication and hang up the phone.
2. Be Suspicious of Recorded Sales Messages
All promotional calls should come from a live agent, so beware of recorded messages. If you do receive one, it’s most likely from a scammer who has acquired information from a third party. To best protect yourself, avoid interaction.
3. Be Wary of Upfront Fees
If someone asks you for upfront fees, it’s also probably a scam. Fraudulent companies typically ask to collect fees to sell, rent or advertise your timeshare exchange benefits. They may even claim you’ll make a profit or they’ll get you out of your timeshare in a short period of time.
In fact, a recent study from the Better Business Bureau—which interviewed more than 70 victims of exit company schemes—found that upfront fees were one of the most common tactics used by scammers. Victims were convinced to pay upfront fees of up to $30,000 for promised services that were not delivered.
4. Do Not Provide Personal Information
If you speak with someone on the phone, do not share any personal information, but do jot down the caller’s name, the company, phone number to call back, website and offer details. Then report the incident to HGV by filling out this Incident Intake Questionnaire and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also file a complaint with the attorney general’s office in your state. (Not sure how to find your attorney general’s office? Click here to locate it.)
5. Above All Else, Always Exercise Caution
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr recently made a statement about exit company schemes, warning consumers to protect themselves with similar strategies. After a recent scheme in his state, Carr urged consumers to be suspicious of any requests to wire money in connection with your timeshare, avoid paying money to a reseller upfront, and be wary of uninvited solicitations and high-pressure sales tactics.
Now that you know how to spot the most common exit company schemes, you’re more equipped than ever to avoid them. When you need a quick reminder on how to keep your vacation membership safe, print these flyers from Hilton Grand Vacations to keep as a reference.
*Top photo by People Images/Getty Images