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Postal Inspectors: Paying Upfront Is A 'No-No'

5:17 PM, Jan 15, 2014   |    comments
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GREEN BAY, WI -- If you're thinking about selling a timeshare, be on the lookout for schemers trying to convince you to sell through them. You could end up on the losing end of the deal.

Fraud victim Esther Bilicki said, "The best thing to do is if you hear timeshare, run the other way."

Bilicki spoke from experience. She lost more than $15,000 in a timeshare scam. She said, "They wanted to help us sell the timeshare - so we didn't have to worry about anything. They would take care of everything."

The company was named National Timeshare Resales.

US Postal Inspector, Derick Thieme said, "They made a lot of misrepresentations in convincing the people they would get their time share sold for them. They would just need to pay upfront fee ranging from $500- $2500."

The company lured people in by claiming they already had a seller on the line. Thieme said they would convince them they had a buyer for their timeshare and this was an imminent sale type deal. They would also tell them they could help them get rid of the timeshare so they wouldn't be responsible for the fees and maintenance costs.

Bilicki admitted the tactic worked on her. She said, "We just needed to get rid of it. We just wanted it out of our way."

But no sale was ever made.

Bilicki said she learned a valuable lesson. "I learned everyone is not as honest as what you think they should be."

Bilicki was one of many victims. Postal inspectors say there were more than 1,400 in one case alone and $2 million in losses. 

Thieme said, "They were desperate, maybe more trusting people and more susceptible to these high pressure sales tactics and it was real disturbing to see these vulnerable people being taken advantage of by these groups." 

Bilicki shared one piece of advice: "Don't do it. Don't send any money. Just wait for them to sell it and then they can take the money out of that." 

Postal inspectors say the best advice before you send money to anyone is do your homework.

US Postal Inspectors/ WFMY News 2

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