Illinois Attorney General warns public about email scam

ILLINOIS (WAND) – Timeshare consumers are losing money to a scam in central Illinois, the Better Business Bureau reports.

The BBB says it has received complaints in recent months from consumers dealing with a company called Resort Financial Group. It says people are signing contracts to sell timeshares, which first includes a fee of several thousands dollars, with the company before it asks them to pay other fees. The charges include taxes, resort maintenance fees, legal fees, title transfer fees, third-party fees and closing costs.

The organization’s report says Resort Financial Group never actually sells the timeshares. Customers say they’ve lost $41,929.89 in total. 

Scam reports came in to the BBB between March 29 and July 28.

The BBB say RFG spoofs its phone number so it shows up on caller ID as Westgate Resorts, which is a legitimate business in Orlando, Fla. Three people say they made payments through wire transfers, while two others paid a total of $12,200 over several transactions to something called the Title Closing & Transfers Association. That company claimed to have an address at 20 N. Orange Ave. in Orlando and listed a contact name of Richard Ortiz.

Richard Ortiz, Greg Riley and Charles Hawkins are contacts who customers told BBB claimed to represent Resort Financial Group in phone calls.

The BBB says it discovered an address Resort Financial Group claimed to have in Springfield in not real. It also says it found out the Title Closing & Transfers Association does not do business at 20 N. Orange Ave. after talking with the property management company that runs the building.

The organization is urging people to be careful when looking at timeshare sale contracts. Consumers are asked to do their research when purchasing a timeshare and take time when reviewing a contract and making a decision. It is possible to cancel a timeshare contract in a short window after signing it, but the BBB says people have to act fast to push a cancellation through.

The American Resort Development Association says timeshare sales are continuing to climb in America, reaching $9.6 billion in the 2017 reporting year.

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