- If you own a timeshare in Mexico and someone contacts you by phone or by email offering to buy it, you should be very careful.
- They might offer you a very attractive price for it, send you scanned documents to prove their identities and a signed contract. They might share a website and a telephone number where you can verify that they represent a legitimate corporation, or that they are intermediaries of a legitimate buyer.
- Many people are obviously interested in selling their timeshares for an excellent price. When the alleged buyers have someone’s interest, they tell the seller he/she must carry out some paperwork in Mexico before receiving payment for the purchase. Sometimes they will even offer to do the paperwork themselves on behalf of the seller.
- Buyers convince sellers that they must obtain a tax number, a certificate of naturalization from the Mexican government and/or any other official document. Usually sellers are eager to sell the timeshare and eventually agree to get help from buyers in carrying out the required paperwork on their behalf. This is when the alleged buyers or intermediaries request a money transfer from the sellers to a Mexican bank account in order to pay for the paperwork fees; sometimes they say the payment for the purchase has already been deposited in a bank account in Mexico and it is pending or ready to be transferred to the seller once the paperwork is done.
- After sellers transfer the money for the paperwork, they never receive payment for the purchase and later realize they have been victims of fraud. If sellers do not transfer the money, the alleged buyers keep pushing, sometimes even threatening sellers.
- We advise the owners of timeshares that if they are interested in selling, do so through a notary public or a real state agency in Mexico. A notary public or a realtor will help the seller pay for the applicable taxes and carry out the necessary paperwork. It is not recommended to transfer money under any circumstance before receiving payment for the sale.
- There have been cases in which someone contacts those who have been victims of this kind of fraud by phone or email, offering them the reimbursement of the money they paid and subsequently lost. Sometimes they impersonate government officials or pose as lawyers commissioned by the Mexican government to make reimbursements. The victims usually believe them since they are willing to do whatever is necessary to recover their money. The individuals who call the victims usually ask them to transfer some money in advance for different reasons: taxes, bank commissions, etc. Many of the victims transfer even more money and never get anything back.
- As a general rule, if a victim of fraud has not filed a criminal complaint, a police investigation cannot be opened and, without an investigation, there is no possibility of recovering the money from these criminals.