Scammers bilk $70,000 from woman trying to sell timeshare

Scammers bilk $70,000 from woman trying to sell timeshare »Play Video

Scam artists will stop at nothing to rip people off, and one of the latest schemes has scammers going after the same victims over and over.

The scammers focus on a timeshare market with a huge supply and not enough buyers. They promise owners a quick sale.

Everywhere on the Internet there are amazing savings on timeshares.

"Now it's hard to re-sell them because they're a dime a dozen," said a woman who only wanted to be identified as Susie to protect her mom's already compromised identity.

Her 89-year-old mother had a timeshare for sale but "she wasn't using it so it bothered her to pay the $800 a year in maintenance fees," Susie said.

Companies began calling her mom and promising they could unload the timeshare for a small cost. Susie said it was a scam from the start.

"They have her credit card. They have her checking account," she said referring to her mother's compromised identity.

Like most timeshare sellers these days, her mom never got a single nibble, but her checking and credit card accounts were dinged monthly.

The scheme does not end with that first call promising a quick sale and a ready buyer. Not long after, a second scammer may call telling a victim that he knows the victim just got ripped off because he used to work with the first caller. Then he says he’ll sell the victim’s timeshare guaranteed for a small fee.

The victim may even get a third call from someone saying he is an attorney going after these timeshare scammers in lawsuits. And for a retainer fee, he'll get the victim's money back.

But victims and prosecutors say all three are sharing information and working together to rip off timeshare owners.

"Total money was probably about $70,000 that they took over two years," Susie said.

The Oregon attorney general's office got involved after Susie emailed its consumer fraud unit.

"If you're making claims as a business that you know you can't live up to then you've got a problem with us," said Tony Green, spokesman for the Oregon attorney general.

Susie warned others not to be fooled by the same sales pitches that her mom fell for.

"She still, to this day, believes that that buyer is out there and she feels sorry for him, because he didn't get her condo."

The Oregon attorney general warns doing business with cold callers is not a good idea.

And a local real estate expert said people should never pay any money up front to a timeshare salesman. He said all legitimate businesses only get paid after they make a sale.