Mexico is the most popular international destination for American travelers, and it’s not hard to see why.
Beautiful beaches, all-inclusive resorts, quick and affordable flights from the U.S., amazing cities, and great culture are just a few of the reasons that Americans continue flocking to Mexico in record numbers.
In 2022, more than 18.4 million tourists visited Mexico, and over 11.7 million of those tourists were Americans.
Americans love popular destinations in Mexico like Cancun, Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta.
Some Americans love Mexico so much and vacation there so frequently that they have purchased a timeshare or real estate in Mexico, and if they haven’t, many have considered it.
Mexico is a great place to retire or to own a vacation home, with a lower cost of living and lower real estate costs than the United States.
However, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico has just released a new warning about the increasing amount of scams and fraud related to timeshares and real estate in Mexico.
Here’s what travelers need to know to avoid being scammed:
Owners Of Timeshares And Real Estate In Mexico
According to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, owners of timeshares in Mexico should be on the lookout for a particularly common scheme that involves the following steps:
- Third-party scammers, who claim to have buyers at the ready and make unsolicited offers to owners of timeshares.
- If the offer is accepted, scammers will make requests of timeshare owners for advance payments of taxes and fees, which supposedly facilitate or expedite the sale with promises of reimbursement upon closing of the sale.
- Once multiple payments have been made to the scammers, timeshare owners eventually come to the conclusion that the offers were fake, that there are no interested buyers, and that their money is gone.
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If you have a timeshare in Mexico and have been trying to sell it, this is a scam to be on the lookout for to avoid losing your money to a buyer who doesn’t really exist.
Another scam involves perpetrators calling victims and claiming to represent the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and demanding a payment in exchange for the release of funds that the perpetrator claims OFAC has “blocked.”
This is another scam that timeshare owners and other real estate owners should be aware of.
Considering A Timeshare Or Real Estate In Mexico?
If you are considering purchasing a timeshare, vacation property, or other real estate in Mexico, you should also stay alert to potential scams and fraud.
One thing the U.S. Embassy in Mexico specifically warns of is “aggressive tactics” used by some sales representatives, especially timeshare sales representatives.
Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into making a decision. According to the embassy, before making a timeshare or real estate purchase, “U.S. citizens should consult with a Mexican attorney to learn about important regulations and laws that govern real estate property.”
You should also go through an established, reputable real estate agency that is familiar with the nuances of Mexican real estate.
What Should You Do If You Spot A Scam?
If you encounter anything that seems “off” when dealing with timeshares or real estate, the best thing to do is to immediately stop engaging with the suspected scammer.
Trust your instincts because if something seems too good to be true or seems to be illegitimate, it probably is.
Additionally, if the person you are engaging with is being overly aggressive or pushy, it’s a red flag.
Anyone who has been victimized by a scam like this is encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, according to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.
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