GMP latest scam update: timeshare fraud
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Latest scam awareness update
The impact of fraud can be both financially and emotionally devastating. It is a top priority for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to investigate reports of fraud thoroughly and take action to disrupt and stop fraudsters offending.
GMP is committed to providing the public with up-to-date information about fraud and the latest scams so that our communities know how to protect themselves and their hard earned money, making it easier to stop these crimes taking place.
What is it?
Fraudsters will claim you can become a property millionaire by investing in a timeshare. A timeshare is when a number of people share ownership of one property – usually a holiday property. Each buyer purchases a certain amount of time that they can use the property for in a year.
The timeshare property in the scam may be far below the standard described by the fraudster and in the brochures they provide you, or may not even exist at all.
When trying to sell you the timeshare, fraudsters may invite you to a presentation and promise you a free gift if you stay until the end. Then will then pressure you intro signing a contract for the timeshare.
Fraudsters can also target people who already own timeshares, by offering to sell it on their behalf for a fee.
What to look out for
- Contact out of the blue offering to sell you a timeshare.
- A promise of large cash reward or high sale prices that sound too good to be true.
- Upfront fees that you have to pay before the sale even goes through.
- Pressure to make a quick decision.
How to protect yourself
- Be very wary of letters, phone calls or emails from companies you don’t know offering you business deals out of the blue.
- If you are contacted by phone, don't continue the conversation.
- Don’t pass on confidential information to people or companies who say you’ve been chosen especially, or that you’ve won something.
- Never make investments without thorough research. Check into the company and ask for several references.
- Never agree to anything on the spot. Refuse to sign anything then and there. Take the documentation home with you and sleep on it.
- Make sure a lawyer reads the contract before you sign it. Make a note of all the verbal promises you were given, and ensure they're in the contract. If they're not, refuse to sign.
- Ask about your cancellation rights and get them in writing.
- Remember, you can always walk out of the presentation. No one can make you stay, no matter what the salespeople may try and tell you.
- Think of buying a timeshare in the same way you'd consider buying any other membership - is it worth the money? Research the market and discover the property values.
How to report it
If you think you have been a victim of timeshare fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.