Fake Buyer Scam

Numerous reports, particularly prevalent in the Senior Citizen community, show these schemes use a plethora of fraudulent misrepresentations claiming the existence of a Buyer for a HIGH price ready to close escrow (THIS WAS ALWAYS A FALSE CLAIM).

These fraud schemes have a common feature: they seek to obtain between $3500 and $5000 per timeshare, claimed to be “closing costs” used to fund an [invented, imaginary] escrow transaction. Typically, they claim that your money is needed in advance in order to close escrow. They will explain when questioned that the owner/seller ‘must’ fund the closing costs FIRST in order to close (THIS IS A FALSE CLAIM).

It is deceitfully explained that timeshare sellers (you) must pay all the closing costs ‘upfront’ (a red flag) and that is because it would be ‘ILLEGAL’ for the funds to simply come out of escrow at closing (ALSO FALSE). If you ever sold a home, you know that the sellers get a settlement statement (HUD-1 form) that shows all the offsets for ‘closing costs’ which have been deducted out of the seller’s proceeds from the sale (leaving the seller with adjusted or “net” proceeds after the sale). So, you know this upfront closing costs law is an invented lie.

Another red flag is just simply the amount: $5000 is even a lot for some homeowner’s extra closing costs. For a fractional timeshare interest, $5000 seems outrageously high. Unfortunately the real story according to Consumer Reports indicates that the claimed “Buyer” never existed at all. The alleged sale was never approved by the resort, and that means the timeshare owner has not achieved a lawful divestment. Consumer Reports further indicated that Refund attempts were typically ignored (often there was no way to even contact the company directly), or if the company was finally reached, the refund requests were deviously resisted.

If company wants $5000 or any money for ‘closing costs’ because they have a buyer for many thousands of dollars…
it is simple –> just have your Lawyer advise the Listing outfit that you’ll double or even quadruple their wages (remembering the $500 to $1000 you paid [upfront] to start the listing). BUT, tell them you WON’T pay a penny more now [upfront], but if they really have a buyer and really can close… you will pay them thousands of your net-proceeds as a bonus. Just tell them to simply deduct the money from the escrow funds (i.e. the tens of thousands {supposedly} paid by the buyer {…if there really is one} ), and you will be happy with the net proceeds sent to your Attorney’s law office. Consumer Reminder: A check from them/escrow is what you want, since it is probably a bad idea to give any bank accounts for wiring escrow funds to any questionable companies, especially in highly troubled industries.

If you are a savvy timeshare seller (by this point at least), you will have already gone to eBay.com and probably know your timeshare is valueless (and no one will even pay $1.00 for it), so if you make a dime through this ‘claimed’ sale, you will be very happy.

Be careful though, because recent reports show that these Scammers will try in the end to convince you that since they are not real estate agents, ‘by law’ you must pay the closing costs upfront or it violates the law and they could go to jail. They’ll plead with the owner that the “deal is done” [a lie] and they are just trying to protect your sale. The sales reps will spend many long hours hassling and harassing you… all along stating they are doing this all for ‘you’ because they have already been paid their upfront fee to list the timeshare and this is ‘your’ payoff. The Scams use this false altruism to thinly veil abusive Fraud.

And Remember… When they tell you they are not real estate brokers but they already took their initial fee ‘to sell an interest in real property on behalf of the seller’ [which is a textbook case for requiring a real estate license], the RED FLAG should be all the way out with blinking strobe lights and screaming sirens going off.

Also Remember, if your timeshare was really worth ten thousand dollars or the tens of thousands of dollars they are promising you, and it really is special and worth money to buyers (be honest with yourself and go to eBay.com first), then you can easily sell it for no fees at all… learn how!