Attorney General Mark Brnovich is warning Arizonans about a rise in sophisticated scams related to the sale of timeshare interests in Mexico.

Scammers often posing as real estate brokers contact consumers and claim that a buyer would like to purchase or rent the consumer’s existing timeshare interest at a location in Mexico. The con artists tell consumers that a buyer wants to pay tens of thousands of dollars for their timeshare, but the consumer must pay money upfront for taxes, or put money into an escrow account. The consumer is directed to wire money to accounts in Mexico. The scammers will attempt to continue to extract money from the consumer until the consumer runs out of money or realizes they’ve been scammed.

Although these scams are typically operated by individuals within the country of Mexico, scammers frequently conceal their identity by using the name of legitimate businesses in the United States, often using the names of businesses registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission that have been inactive for years. Scammers will also create new, slick websites to appear legitimate, and populate internet sites with fake reviews. In some cases, con artists have even posed as part of Mexico’s government and say the Mexican government has set up a fund to assist victims of timeshare fraud in Mexico.

“Our office has seen an increase in consumer complaints involving timeshare resale scams in Mexico,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “These scammers know some people are desperate to get out of their timeshares and prey upon that vulnerability to steal their money. Never wire or send money to people you don’t know or to a stranger in another country.”

If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, you can file a complaint online with the Attorney General’s Office. You can also contact the Consumer Information and Complaints Unit in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763.