YOU WERE CONTACTED FIRST
If you received a telephone call or unsolicited mail stating a timeshare exit firm can get you out of your ownership or has a buyer lined up, this is a red flag. Being approached without contacting a firm beforehand is one of the first signs of a
timeshare exit scam
AFTER FILLING OUT AN ONLINE FORM
Many websites claim they will help you exit your timeshare, but the website may not be a legitimate company, leading you straight to a scam. If you fill out an online form to be contacted about exiting a timeshare, be sure to write down the name of the website you were on and research the
. When you receive a call back, be sure the person calling you back actually works for the company you inquired with.
DON’T PAY UPFRONT FEES
Timeshare owners should be wary of any entity that asks them to pay a large, upfront fee before any action is taken. Multiple news stations have reported on
owners being scammed
due to up-front payments. If a firm is persistent on requiring an upfront fee, only pay upfront with an escrow service. Exit firms may try to convince you to accept a "100% money back guarantee", but this does not protect you against the entity going
out of business
. An escrow service is a third-party that holds your funds until service is completely rendered. This protects your money in case the exit firm goes out of business.
CHECK THE BUSINESS ADDRESS
Check the address listed on the website of the exit firm. If no address is available, ask yourself if you feel comfortable doing business with an organization that does not have a physical location. If an address is listed, lookup the address on a search engine to verify the address matches the name of the business. Scammers may utilize a shared or leased office space, such as a Regus Office or UPS Store, to give the appearance of legitimacy, even though they do not have a physical office space.
DON'T PROVIDE PERSONAL INFORMATION
As outlined in our Timeshare Exit Strategies
, timeshare developers are now increasingly working with owners who wish to exit their timeshare, many of which are free to owners. If an exit firm is requesting your sensitive personal information as part of these incentives, such as a PIN associated with your timeshare or your social security number, this is a red flag that you may be scammed.
ASK FOR THE NAME OF YOUR ATTORNEY
If you're engaged with a timeshare exit firm, request the name of the attorney who will handle your case before signing any contracts. Some exit companies do not utilize attorneys, while others bid out cases to the lowest bidder. Not knowing the attorney or law firm you will be working with is another red flag that you may be scammed out of your deposit.