The Federal Trade Commission has reported a significant increase in the number of complaints involving time share owners being approached by people claiming to have a buyer lined up. Often there is no buyer and the person claiming to be a representative is using the fake transaction to gather cash, bank information and personal identification information, such as Social Security numbers. Time share resale fraud now ranks number one in complaints received at the Florida Attorney General’s Offices.

Fraud cases are often presented in waves. A certain scam or fraudulent transaction will gain in popularity until authorities turn enough attention to it to curb the action. Time share resale fraud is currently on the rise. Complaints regarding the practice have increased by 400 percent in Florida since 2009. The Federal trade Commission reports that there were 819 such complaints in 2009 while in 2011 there were more than 5,000. The practice may be increasing because of the desperation of many time share owners to unload the investment. The market dropped dramatically in 2008 and many people were left with time shares that netted maintenance costs, but no enjoyment.

Florida has responded by passing a new law, specifically making it illegal for time share resellers to pretend that they have a buyer when they do not. Cancellation requests and refunds are now a required part of the practice of reselling time shares.

Source: USA Today, “Time share fraud lands on law enforcement’s radar,” by Jayne O’Donnell, 1 May 2012

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