People have differing opinions on the idea of timeshares—some that are positive and some that say they are mostly scams. But, this article is not about if you are or are not a strong advocate for having a timeshare. My goal is to point out the real culprit behind timeshare scams: timeshare rental scams.
Avoid timeshare rental scams
There really is no difference between a timeshare rental scam and any other rental scam when it comes to targeting people. Let’s say you see a resort offered in some ad. You reserve it for your family by paying the applicable fees. When you arrive there, you discover you are not reserved for the week chosen or you encounter a denial of use because the owners have past due maintenance fees. Regardless of the case, the offer was not honored. You may also run into identity theft issues or credit card scams.
This example is a far cry from saying only timeshare rentals can be potential scams. To be honest, it’s more prevalent with other types of vacation rental opportunities found on popular vacation rental sites.
How to protect yourself from timeshare rental scams
Here are some things you can do to minimize your chances of being the victim of all kinds of rental scams:
- Avoid sites that are not well-established with a good reputation. Also, only use websites with secure protection for using your credit card. Make sure the offer has some type of guarantee to accompany your agreement.
- A timeshare rental price range that is very low compared to competing agencies is usually a scam.
- Any advertised timeshare resort offer should be researched to verify it exists.
- A company asking for upfront fees or wire transfers instead of offering to do the timeshare offer the regular way is usually a scam.
- Personal information like your social security number, bank account information (including online information) and all credit card numbers (including the security number on the back) should not be given out on a whim.
- Make sure your reservation is legitimate. This means make sure the person renting the timeshare is accurate, and make sure they have given you permission to rent the property. Also, check to see that the reserved week is documented. You may want to ask if there are any outstanding fees that will need to be paid prior to you using your reserved time.
Timeshare rental scams that affect owners
Finally, we come to the rental scam opportunity aimed at actual timeshare owners. If you want to rent your property to people when you are not using it, try to find a company that does not ask for any upfront fees. Usually when companies do this, they have taken your money and have done virtually nothing to market your timeshare as available for rent. To prevent these types of timeshare rental scams, try using an agency that charges a commission and no upfront fees.