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Most timeshare owners are more than aware that scams often pervade the timeshare industry, potentially resulting in a loss of thousands of pounds for victims who fall foul of unscrupulous activities. What most timeshare owners may not be aware, however, is that it is not always a resale company that is at fault. While some resale companies have been caught doing dirty tricks on unsuspecting people, in many cases fraudulent activity is caused by individuals alone.

This can be highlighted in the recent case that saw a number of people lose a significant amount of cash as a result of a timeshare scam, which the resale company knew nothing about. In this instance, it involved the bogus sale of a unit at Sun City Vacation Club located in South Africa’s Sun City. An individual listed the sale of a unit, which was snapped up by a buyer, who suspected nothing was amiss since they received a confirmation from the resort. It was only prior to their departure that suspicions were aroused when Sun City Vacation Club contacted this buyer to say that someone else owned the unit at that time. The crook seller had in fact sold the unit to several people at once, duping them out of thousands of pounds. Several other people also arrived at the resort and then realised that their reservation numbers had been copied.

Sun City Vacation Club is said to be looking into the issue and has launched a full investigation, with the scammer responsible not yet found. To add further complexities into the pot, the timeshare listing was advertised on well-known classified websites, Gumtree and OLX, which were also not aware that the advert was bogus. Both websites have since removed suspect adverts, and while it is hard to monitor which adverts are genuine, Gumtree has installed a notification system that links users to articles or posts that detail specific issues, in an effort to reduce further incidences.

What can you do to avoid such scams? Firstly, it is really important to keep your timeshare membership details and reservation numbers confidential, and never post them on any websites. Secondly, one of the best ways to cut your chances of encountering a fraudulent individual is to always deal with a reputable organisation that has a proven track record of dealing in timeshare. Research who you are dealing with and only liaise with professionals. An expert company can assist with all aspects of a timeshare, from purchase to the time you decide now is the time to sell my timeshare. Crucially, an expert organisation will be aware of many of the scams doing the rounds or the warning signs that a scammer may be in operation, so will be able to steer you in the right direction.