What We're Reading - "Beware of Holiday Cyber Scams"

As we continue our headlong sprint into the holiday season, the Florida Bar has a word of advice that benefits not only attorneys, but everyday consumers: “Beware of Holiday Cyber Scams.”

The Bar dove into this topic in a recent blog post, available here.

As it notes, though cyber security “may not be at the top of your holiday preparation list,” it is vital, particularly in the face of “holiday phishing scams or malware campaigns,” which can be pernicious, and afflict consumers from all backgrounds.

Indeed, the Bar blog goes on to cite a phishing survey from DomainTools, which found that 38 percent of respondents “had fallen victim to an online phishing attack,” despite the fact that “more than 90 percent of respondents [stated] that they are familiar with phishing.”

A 2017 Year End Message from Michael Finn

As we at Finn Law Group approach the beginning of our eighth consecutive year practicing our own branch of “specialty law,” representing timeshare-owner clients seeking relief from lifelong contractual obligations, I wanted my year-end message to reiterate our stance that we’ve maintained since we started our timeshare resort practice: “We have never, ever, left a client behind!”

Each and every client that has hired us from 2011, up to and including the present date, has received the benefit of a single fixed fee, which financed our efforts in having their resort contract terminated and/or still remains to this date open and active. This policy translates into having our attorney’s umbrella of protection from litigation and debt collection agencies from date-of-hire, all the way through to contract termination. We can’t say that no FLG client has ever been sued by their resort (although that number is extremely small), but we can proudly state that no client has gone unprotected or undefended, and we can further say that absolutely no client has ever suffered an adverse court judgement requiring payment of even a single penny!

What We're Reading - 'James Bond Wouldn't Get Talked Into a Timeshare'

There are all sorts of tactics that resort developers and their sales teams use to lure fresh buyers to timeshare sales presentations every year. After all, as our own Michael Finn has said, the timeshare is, in many ways, the “mac daddy of impulse buys.”

Some of the most common tactics that resort companies use to bring in “new blood,” so to speak, are to target their marketing materials to those who are already on vacation, and to offer some sort of appealing free gift or rewards package as compensation for attending the pitch (often called a seminar).

Both of those methods surface in a recent article from The Journal Gazette & Times Courier, a newspaper out of central Illinois. Hilariously dubbed “James Bond wouldn't get talked into a timeshare, would he?” the column recounts a recent trip to Las Vegas by the author, Clint Walker.

After hitting the buffets and taking in all that the world-famous city had to offer, including playing baccarat like a super-spy, Walker and his traveling companions found themselves open to a new opportunity. As Walker explains it, he and his friends signed up to receive “free tickets and 25-dollar stacks at the Luxor,” in exchange for attending a timeshare presentation, which, they were promised, “was only going to take two hours.”

What We're Reading - 'Colorado AG Obtains $7 Million Judgement Against Travel Club Scam'

In this “News Room” space, we often highlight the myriad scams that target timeshare or travel club consumers desperately seeking relief from their costly obligations, including the all-too-common timeshare resale scam.

Recently, our attention was piqued by a different type of vacation club-related fraud all-together.

Specifically, a Denver court recently ordered the owners and operators of an alleged travel club to pay over $7 million to Colorado for defrauding consumers. Why? Their so-called “travel clubs” – which included Sea to Ski Vacations and Traditions Travel Group – didn’t actually exist as they were described.

Here’s how the process worked, according to a press release brought to our attention by timeshare industry news site Inside the Gate:

“The [owners and operators] promised members of their travel club deep discounts at exotic hotels and timeshares around the world. In reality, the [actors] did nothing more than search online travel websites to book their clients’ travels. Consumers ultimately paid… thousands of dollars for a service they could have gotten online for free.”

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