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Are you one of the many people who have fallen for timeshare scams? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. In fact, recent data show that you’re in good company. In 2017, the FTC collected nearly 2.7 million reports of fraud using their Consumer Sentinel Network. Happily, this is less than they found in 2016! However, an analysis of this report shows that all kinds of people fall for all kinds of scams all of the time.
Who falls for scams, including timeshare scams? Everyone.
As you can see, the Consumer Sentinel Network collects scam reports from every age group.
Scams perpetrated on the elderly get a lot of press. And rightly so. On average, when the elderly fall for scams they lose more money than others. We hear stories of people getting scammed out of their retirement all the time. However, people of all ages find themselves taken in by scams. In fact, millennials made up 40% of the scammed in 2017! Luckily for them, they lost less money on average. However, the fact that they have less money than mom and dad and grandma and grandpa is likely a factor in that analysis.
Fraud and scams come from many directions. In fact, we need to be careful of pretty much any kind of communication.
The telephone remains one of the most common ways that scammers contact their marks. So, common sense tells us to be wary of “opportunities” presented by phone. And it turns out, most of us are. Maybe the long history of phone scams works to educate us and keep us from falling for ruses. In fact, only 9% of people lost money to scams initiated by phone. That’s good news. However, it’s not the whole story.
Email fraud is on the rise—and we’re more vulnerable to these scams. Of reported email fraud, 34% of people lost money. Email is, of course, a more recent invention than the phone. And it’s an ever-growing segment of communication. Even with anti-SPAM laws created to keep consumers safe and unbothered, email scams make up 10% of reported scams in 2017. And when people encounter scams by email, they are more likely to lose money. Perhaps we’re less aware of how widespread email fraud really is. Perhaps we’re less adept at identifying fraud when it shows up in our inbox. Whatever the reason, many, many Americans lose their hard-earned money via email scams.
54% of people lost money through a website or other virtual scam.
However, the biggest danger is when we reach out to a company or person of ill repute. If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. We’re the ones making the choice to start contact with the scammers. So, already we may feel more at ease since we’ve clearly made at least one decision to connect. But this also gives the scammer more information about us. It tells them that we want what they’re selling. In legitimate sales, this would be a qualified lead. But for scammers, it’s easy money.
Many people feel embarrassed when they are caught in a scammer’s web. However, it should be obvious that these issues affect so many people. It’s a widespread occurrence. We all like to think we’re too smart to fall for scams. But sometimes that faith in ourselves leads us down the wrong path.
Robert Cialdini, formerly Regents’ Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, says:
The root cause of people falling victim to a financial fraud is their uncertainty about the details of the financial environment. When people feel uncertain about financial decisions, they look outside themselves, and this sets them up for the fraud.
Falling for scams makes us feel duped, vulnerable, and powerless. But you don’t have to feel this way. You can get educated, take action, and avoid future scams. If you’re one of the many victims of timeshare scams and are looking to exit your timeshare, we can help. Get started here with a free consultation.