New scam targets timeshare owners

Police have issued a warning to timeshare property owners after a Kelowna man lost nearly $60,000 to a devious new scam.

The 79 year-old man was approached last year by a timeshare reseller, World Wide Timeshare Properties, with an offer to sell his properties for him. The man eventually agreed and soon after was contacted and advised that buyers for the property had been found. He was told that to complete the sale, he would have to pay taxes, fees and other charges up front by sending the cash to an escrow service called All American Transfers.

Neither World Wide Timeshare Properties nor All American Transfers are legitimate companies despite having professional-looking websites.

If you are approached by a company to buy, sell, trade or rent your timeshare, please take the time to research and verify them.

Reputable companies tend to post plenty of information about themselves online, including their location, their phone and fax numbers and details about membership in organizations such as the Better Business Bureau or other reputable watchdog groups. If you can't find anything about them online or through other agencies, it is likely a scam.

Before sending any money, you should be absolutely certain that you've taken all possible steps to ensure that your money is safe. Although an escrow service (reliable third-party) can help protect your investment, you should also research and verify the credibility of the escrow service, even those approved by the reseller. As was seen in the above example, criminals will create fraudulent escrow sites by mimicking legitimate sites or creating entirely fictitious sites to get money from trusting victims.

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