Fraudulent schemes targeting timeshare owners
February 01, 2022
The Wise Owls program is supported by the RCMP & Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association, and it aims to educate seniors. Seniors gain the necessary tools to recognize a problem, who to talk to, how to report it and where to go for more information. We provide awareness and education for seniors. While the senior population grows, so does their vulnerability to abuse. Elder abuse is any action or inaction by self or others that jeopardizes the health or well-being of any senior.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is warning the public about fraudulent schemes targeting timeshare owners.
Canadians are being contacted by telephone or email and being presented with an offer to see their timeshare. In some cases, the owners have advertised their timeshare for sale on the internet. The suspects promise a quick sale with high profits for the seller but request various fees upfront before the sale is finalized, claiming they are for maintenance fees, escrow fees, and taxes.
Documentation and correspondence with the victim may appear to be very professional. The suspects often provide victims with documentation that appears to be legitimate, including copious amounts of detail, and may require a signature or witness to provide a false sense of authenticity or credibility. Victims are typically solicited by companies in Mexico or the United States and are required to wire funds to a bank account in Mexico or another country.
How to protect yourself
- Be wary of unsolicited offers to sell your timeshare. Do not agree to anything over the phone or online until you thoroughly research the supposed buyer.
- Always do your research and only use an accredited agency.
- Never pay upfront fees! If you are genuinely interested in selling your timeshare, use a company that offers to sell for a fee after the sale has been finalized.
- If you fear you have been a victim of this scam, report it! Always remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
What should you do if you are a victim of fraud or a scam?
Never be embarrassed if you think you are the victim of a scam. Reporting is crucial to help prevent others from becoming victims. If you do not report, law enforcement does not have the information they need to prevent the crime from happening again or to pursue the criminals responsible. Report scams and frauds by calling the police on the non-emergency line. (*NOT 911*)
Report crime online!
The RCMP are encouraging all Albertans to report eligible crimes online (select property crimes under $5,000). Reporting less serious crimes online helps emergency dispatch and frontline members focus their time on high-priority calls. It provides a convenient way to share photos to the RCMP as well. These reports assist in crime analysis, aid in establishing trends and patterns, and ultimately leads investigators to the chronic offenders. It also assists in making decisions about how and where to deploy resources. Crimes reported online will be taken just as seriously as crime reported in any other way.
Help reduce crime, report online! #ReportSmart
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