As the spring rolls through and the summer heats up, the bad guy is planning his next seasonal scams. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has on average over 15,000 complaints a year related to travel, vacation or timeshare scams. It’s important to have summer safety in mind when planning your next summer vacations.
OK, I’ll admit it. I got scammed in a timeshare deal, kind of. I got what I paid for, but many lies were told to get me to sign on the dotted line. Whenever someone offers you money or dinner or tickets to anything in exchange for your time to sit down and learn about a timeshare “opportunity”, know that a very hard sell by someone who does not take no for an answer is coming. The way we got scammed was we were told we’d have no problem renting it out, which was the defining reason I’d commit to buy. The reality is there are hundreds of thousands of timeshares for rent. Which means it’s cheaper to rent someone else’s timeshare than it is to buy one and people who rent them out often do so for less than their annual maintenance fees.
Most people are not equipped to say no to these professionals. So if you absolutely don’t want to buy a timeshare, don’t take the bait, don’t go to the sales presentation, and for heaven’s sake don’t do it if you are under the influence of alcohol!
Another devious summer scam relates to classified offerings for summertime rentals that don’t exist. There may very well be an actual cottage rental, but the scammer may not own it and he may be renting it to 30 people the same week. This is an easy scam to pull off and often involves up front deposits that the victim never gets back.
The best way to prevent getting scammed and ensure summer safety is by dealing with a local real estate agent who specializes in rentals or going through a referral of a friend who has a previous relationship with the owner.
As crazy as it sounds, you are better off paying via a credit card number opposed to a check. Once a check is cashed, that’s it; you don’t have many (or any) options of recouping those funds if fraud is detected. There are a few more protections available when using a credit card.