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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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Visduh March 19, 2013 @ 8:17 p.m.

For those who have been victimized, they made a first big mistake, and that was buying a Mexican timeshare in the first place. As "gringos" they have no rights in that screwed-up country, which means that if it ever became necessary to enforce their "contracts" they would have had no help at all. The judicial system there would give them a big shrug of the shoulders.

So, then when some of them realize what they have done, or when they actually need to sell the dubious rights, they find out that there's about no secondary market for such timeshares. Ah, gee! What shall I do now? Oh, hey, there's a company that will sell your units for you. Oh, wonderful. I am saved. Just put some more good money after the bad, an' we'll help you out. Just a few hundred or thousand bucks, and we'll get your dollars back across the border and into your pocket.

"No further action is taken?" I'm shocked, shocked to learn that people are willing and eager to steal from those who already were taken to the cleaners when they bought. If you want to drop your bucks south of the border, make sure you know exactly what you are doing, and if possible look and talk as if you are Mexican. That way, if you need to get some enforcement, the cops and lawyers there may think you are one of them.


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