Missouri Real Estate Commission Warns of Timeshare Scam
JEFFERSON CITY –– The Missouri Real Estate Commission warns consumers and real estate brokers to be aware of recent timeshare scams. These scams involve telephone calls from individuals posing as a Missouri real estate salesperson and offering to sell the homeowner’s timeshare in the country of Mexico.
These callers falsely represent themselves by using the actual name, address and real estate license number of a Missouri real estate licensee and encourage the homeowner to contact the Missouri Real Estate Commission (MREC) to verify that information. The caller then informs the owner that if they are interested in selling their timeshare, they have a buyer. Since many timeshare owners want to “get out” of their timeshare, they agree to sell and wire money to the supposed real estate salesperson. The caller may allow a couple of weeks to pass before contacting the owner/seller to inform them they require more money to complete the transaction and close the paperwork on the deal, informing the owner they will then wire the money (proceeds) from the sale of the timeshare to the seller.
“Timeshare fraud is becoming an increasingly serious crime because the solicitor obtains not only the personal identity of the victim, but also solicits funds from unsuspecting victims – sometimes costing consumers thousands of dollars.” said Terry W. Moore, Executive Director of the Missouri Real Estate Commission.
Moore advises those who receive calls to be cautious about providing any information to people you don’t know. Question any offers to help sell a timeshare and make sure to get all terms in writing before agreeing to do anything, such as sending money, and read the agreement thoroughly – including the fine print. It is always advisable to have an attorney review the contract.
“If you receive a call from a solicitor claiming to be a Missouri broker with an offer to sell your Mexico timeshare, take down all the information you can and then contact the Enforcement Unit with the Missouri Real Estate Commission to verify the license information of the solicitor or the company,” Moore says.
If you have been a victim of one of these timeshare scams, please contact the Missouri Real Estate Commission Enforcement Unit at (573) 751-2628, extension #4.
About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration
The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department’s seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.