As the sergeant says on GI Joe says, “Knowing is half the battle.” This discussion will help solve some of the mystery about whether your timeshare company is legitimate.

How to tell you are walking into a timeshare scam

All you have to do is look for certain signs of a timeshare scam and then you will know whether your timeshare company is just a fraud. The following information will help you be able to spot companies that may not be authentic timeshare providers.

Here are the signs that will make you a well-informed consumer when shopping for a timeshare investment:

How long have the timeshare company been in business?

A company with less than ten years in business is most likely a timeshare scam—especially if you can’t find any details about the company when you try to research it on the internet. Any reputable company will at least have something on record—even if it’s a complaint. Invest in companies with a known reputation and lifespan of at least ten years.

Have the timeshare company been honest with you from the get-go?

Let’s say the timeshare company you are planning on getting a timeshare from promises you a full breakfast and other incentives when you attend the presentation. However, if you attend the presentation and discover the breakfast you are served is only coffee and the free incentives actually have to be bought, then you are seeing signs of a scam. So, if you have already found the company to not be honest with you from the beginning, then you can be certain their offer is going to be dishonest as well.

Have you been to see the actual timeshare resort?

Let’s say you’re buying a timeshare, but you haven’t gotten the option to go see the timeshare you plan to buy. In this scenario, you are most likely involved with a timeshare scam and do not need to waste any more time. There’s no way any legitimate company is going to sell you a timeshare without giving you the option to see it physically. A picture, architectural model (unless coming from a reputable agency) or another type of model is not going to cut it. And even if you do get an invite, always make sure what you are shown is a match for what you plan to receive in your contract.

Does the timeshare company have all the required licenses?

It is a good idea to check to see if your timeshare company is registered and licensed with the local authorities for that area. You may not be able to do this while on vacation, but there is still a way to tell if they are licensed. Agents from licensed companies will have ID badges that give them permission to work the streets. If the agent working the malls or the airport does not have a valid ID, then their company is pointing towards being a timeshare scam.

Does the timeshare company have links with reputable international exchange networks?

If you want to know if your timeshare company is a scam, just check to see if they belong to one of the international exchange networks. If your company is legitimate, it will be affiliated with at least one international exchange network. As a good place to start, see if your company is affiliated with RCI of Interval International because these two companies only do business with companies that have an established reputation as being legitimate.

What does you gut feeling tell you?

Some people don’t know how to use their intuition to determine whether something is right or wrong, but some of us do. And those of us who use our intuition to make judgements often realize our gut feeling is right. If your intuition is letting you know something may not be right about your timeshare opportunity, you might need to pay it attention if your gut feelings have been accurate in the past. Your gut feeling is probably the first tingling you feel that you are heading into a timeshare scam, so be sure you act upon it and consider all the other questions mentioned above.

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