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Every year millions of people fall victim to scammers when trying to buy a timeshare or sell their timeshare. In fact, a recent Forbes article stated that “timeshare gripes were the fastest-growing category” of consumer complaints in 2012.

The unfortunate truth is that timeshare scammers prey on vulnerable individuals who are often in desperate financial situations. But don’t lose hope. If you know what to look for, you can easily spot a potential timeshare scammer. If your potential reseller meets any or all of the criteria below, back away slowly. These warning signs don’t necessarily indicate a timeshare scam, but they should raise a few red flags.

So What Can You Do?

Contact the state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located. Ask if any complaints are on file. You also can search online for complaints and check with the BBB.

Check the license. Ask for licensing information and verify it with the Real Estate Commission. Only deal with licensed brokers and always ask for references.

Before you sign a contract with a reseller, get the details of the terms and conditions of the contract. It should include: the services the reseller will perform; the fees, commissions, and other costs you must pay and when; and who is responsible for documenting and closing the sale.

By keeping your eyes open for the ten warning signs listed above, you can save a lot of trouble and money. If you suspect you’ve been scammed online, file a complaint with your state attorney general’s office and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (known as the IC3).

The IC3 not only collects complaints but also analyzes them, links similar complaints, and discerns patterns in order to help law enforcement identify the scammers.

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