Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Dec. 18
Scammers target owners of Mexican timeshares
California DRE says perpetrators have hijacked the names of stateside licensees
In case selling a timeshare itself isn’t a hazardous enough proposition, the California Department of Real Estate has reported that a new scam is emerging surrounding popular resort properties in Baja California and elsewhere in Mexico, according to a recent post at HispanicBusiness.
In the scheme, owners of Mexican timeshares are contacted by individuals posing as real estate agents, either claiming to have a buyer or renter for the unit, or offering to put the owner’s share in a property up for sale. Owners are then asked to pay an upfront fee (those collected have reportedly ranged from $3,250 to a whopping $85,000), but once the cash is collected no further action is taken.
Consumers are further taken in by scammers obtaining and operating under the names and license numbers of actual real estate brokers in the U.S., and have gone as far as setting up fake phone numbers that are answered by individuals purporting to represent the legitimate brokerages.
In a fraud alert issued by the Department, officials warn that asking for any fees up-front should serve as a “red flag,” in addition to basic cautions that should always be taken when dealing with unsolicited e-mails.
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