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Timeshare Scams Use Stolen Professional Broker IDs

By Melissa Garcia

DENVER (CBS4)- The Better Business Bureau is investigating a surge in timeshare scams. According to the BBB, scammers are hi-jacking the names and license numbers of legitimate businesses in the Denver metro area. Officials say the scammers claim to sell timeshares, when in reality, there is no buyer.

"It can happen to you," said David, one victim who didn't want to give his last name, who spoke with CBS4's Melissa Garcia via Skype from Canada.

David thought he was getting a good deal when he received a call from a so-called realtor who offered up a buyer to purchase his travel club membership for more than six times what he paid for it.

But the caller wasn't who he said he was. He was a scammer who had stolen the identity of a legitimate Denver broker. The scammer presented a badge with the broker's actual name and license number and a fake picture.

David wired $2,800 to Mexico before realizing he had fallen for a scam.

"It's not the end of the world. But, it's a nice chunk of dough," said David.

Real Estate Scam
CBS4's Melissa Garcia interviews Dan Nelson, Broker Associate with Madison & Company Ltd. (credit: CBS)

Dan Nelson, Broker Associate with Madison & Company Ltd. said his professional identity was also stolen in a similar scheme.

"Honestly, it sort of makes you sick to your stomach when you first find out about it," said Nelson.

Erin O'Neill, a spokesperson with the BBB is warning timeshare owners that today's scammers are savvy.

Real Estate Scam
CBS4's Melissa Garcia interviews Erin O'Neill with the Better Business Bureau (credit: CBS)

"You would think that it's completely legitimate and unfortunately… sometimes it's not," said O'Neill.

O'Neill advises timeshare owners to always check the company out with the BBB before making a sale.

"Whether it is a scam that happens outside of our borders, or if it's a scam that may be on Craigslist, we always say, do not wire to anyone you've never done business with, (whom) you've never met," said O'Neill.

Officials said authorities have been able to track down some of the suspects in the timeshare schemes. Since they're often located out of the country many of the scammers aren't caught. That means that the victims are unable to recover whatever funds they've wired.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to

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