Regulation 

Action Fraud sees timeshare scam surge

Action Fraud sees timeshare scam surge

Action Fraud has received 30 reports of timeshare fraud between May and August this year with a total loss of £94,089.

The fraudsters were offering to sell victims a timeshare on a holiday property for an advance fee.

But once victims paid the advance fee, they were unable to contact the ‘salesperson’ and struggle to have their money returned.

Often it is discovered that the holiday property doesn’t even exist.

Detective Inspector Chris Felton of the City of London Police’s national fraud intelligence bureau said: “With £90,000 worth of timeshare fraud losses reported to Action Fraud since May, we are urging people to be cautious.

“Fraudsters lure people in with an attractive timeshare offer on a holiday property only to then cease contact once the victim has paid an advance fee.

“As with all victims of fraud, our reports also show that timeshare fraud victims are vulnerable to recovery fraud."

Recovery fraud is a common way in which fraudsters attempt to defraud people who have already fallen victim to fraud by offering to return what they have lost.

Further reports to Action Fraud show that fraudsters are also taking advantage by cold calling the victims of previous fraudulent or mis-sold timeshare schemes.

The fraudsters claim to be from the Spanish authorities or legal firms that either do not exist or are clones of genuine firms. 

The fraudsters are advising previous victims that they are owed compensation and simply need to pay a fee to obtain this money; or the fee is requested under the pretence that this is an administrative fee for the courts, after which the amount ‘owed’ to the victim can be released.

The fraudsters are aware of the victim’s personal details from the previous fraud and possess knowledge of their previous investment, giving the fraudsters false credibility. 

Fraud and cyber crime can be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at actionfraud.police.uk

damian.fantato@ft.com

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