Bryan Cohen Apr. 30, 2013, 5:15pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the Better Business Bureau teamed up Friday to warn consumers about a recent spike in timeshare reseller scams.

Since the beginning of the year, Ferguson's office and the Better Business Bureau received more than 20 complaints related to timeshare scams. Robert Andrew, the CEO of the BBB serving Western Washington, Oregon and Alaska said there are nearly endless variations on timeshare resale scams.

Scammers can use the identities of legitimate real estate brokers and demand upfront cash from buyers who think they are getting a great deal. In one complaint, a Washington resident alleged that his elderly mother lost $8,000 in advance fees to a scammer offering to buy her timeshare.

Scammers may ask that buyers use cash or a wire transfer to pay fees, which makes it nearly impossible to get money back. The fraudsters may use worthless money-back guarantees, promises that a timeshare can be sold within a certain timeframe and high-pressure sales techniques to keep consumers from thinking over the sale or getting advice from legal professionals.

"No matter what name the company uses, no legitimate timeshare resale business cold calls timeshare owners offering more than what the owner originally paid," Ferguson said. "One of the easiest ways to spot a scam is to refer to the old adage: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."

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