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Fake Banco de España Emails Claiming Money is Held

Yesterday Inside Timeshare published information on a new “SCAM” being perpetrated by persons unknown using the cover of the Banco de España, Spain’s national bank. Today we continue with the story and as you will see from the Email reproduced below there are many errors in the “facts” they give along with warnings of other “third party” companies claiming to be acting on behalf of the courts or the courts themselves. Now that is a case of the “pot calling the kettle black”.

As we explained yesterday the email supposedly coming from the Banco de España is being sent from a Gmail account, [email protected] which a national bank would not be using, the Email address is actually @bde.es.

The other telling point is the telephone number at the foot of the Email, 0034602576406, which is a Spanish mobile number!

So why would a national bank such as Banco de España be using a Gmail account and a mobile number?

At the end of the Email it is “signed” “with kind regards administration”. Surely it would have had the name of the person who is working on this “case” as a point of contact.

These are the first signs that this is in no doubt a “SCAM” on an epic scale.

The next point are the companies which they claim the courts have seized money from, this is a rather extensive list:

European Finance Solutions, EFS, Excalibur, Level 9 Resolutions SL, Sun Travel International, Half Moon Holdings, Principle Travel, Simple Timeshare Sales, Freewall Solutions, End Vacation, Iberian Dream Homes, Holiday Rentals Direct, Breakaway Vacation, CMC Accounts, Selling Time, Timeshare Resale, Emerald Rock Holdings, Blue Chip, Blue Diamond, Fast Line, etc”.

Notice the “etc” at the end, again this leads us to believe that they have no idea which company the “clients” paid or even how they paid.

In respect of the companies mentioned above, these go back many years and most were based around Velez Malaga and Torre del Mar, with most being closed down several years ago. Many of these companies were also the subject of a large National Police operation codenamed Manta (blanket) around 2017. Inside Timeshare reported this at the time and also included the following links:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3952419/dozens-arrested-over-timeshare-scam-that-saw-500-brits-conned-out-of-life-savings-in-multi-million-pound-costa-del-sol-racket/?utm_source=TWITTER&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SprnklrSUNOrganic&UTMX=Editorial%3ATheSun%3ATwImageandlink%3AStatement%3ANews

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/costa-del-sol-cops-uncover-10745713

Banco de España Madrid

So the conclusion is that the senders of the Email are just clutching at straws and hope that the “client” did in fact pay one or more of these companies, which would then “corroborate” what they are claiming. 

The other point which we need to look at is how have they got the contact details of these “clients”?

We suspect that as most of these companies were run by the same people, it would be safe to assume that it is either the original “scammers” or old staff members using the client data of their past victims.

The Email then goes on to state that the “director” of the “aforementioned” company has been found guilty of fraud and money laundering. Now we ask which “aforementioned” company as they have previously listed so many. It is also a fact that each company had a different director, the actual persons behind them did not register themselves as “directors”, they got “stooges” to front the companies.

The next paragraph also goes on to state that the Judge ruled that all remaining funds in the accounts be divided equally amongst the claimants. We ask what money? As the reports in the press show, the police seized huge amounts of cash, cars including a Ferrari, a yacht and other luxury items. In other words, as soon as the “scammed” money hit the accounts it was withdrawn and dispersed. After all according to the reports at the time the accounts themselves had very little in them.

As we said in our opening paragraph they are also giving a warning about callers claiming to be from the courts or representing the courts, well, this is a good ploy to try and give legitimacy to the Email from the “FAKE” Banco de España. But they then go on to warn “clients” about giving their credit or debit card details to any third party stating, “DO NOT GIVE THAT INFORMATION TO THEM”,  does this include them as well?

In the same paragraph, they also state “Since 2011 it has been illegal for anyone to request that information and take payment when the matter has anything to do with timeshare”. This is absolutely untrue, in fact paying by credit card is probably the safest way of making a payment, at least if anything goes wrong you will be covered by Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act 1974. If you paid by any other method then that money is as good as lost.

We now come to one of the most hilarious parts of the Email is the rather lengthy paragraph about Mindtimeshare and Alberto Garcia. According to this “FAKE” Banco de España Email, Alberto Garcia owned Mindtimeshare and was also “one of the prosecuted directors, owning many fraudulent companies, and for years writing online about other fraudulent and legal companies but not making people aware of the companies owned by him”.

They also claim that Alberto Garcia owned many companies that defrauded “thousands” from people but has now been prosecuted and as a result, a woman is now writing for Mindtimeshare as Alberto Garcia.

As many of our regular readers will remember, Inside Timeshare was not a great fan of Alberto Garcia, but even Inside Timeshare cannot believe their statement, We have never even heard of him being prosecuted for any of these allegations. It must also be mentioned that Mindtimeshare and Alberto Garcia were funded by the timeshare industry.

The paragraph also claims that the Banco de España has started taking legal action against them for the “false accusations” made by Mindtimeshare and Alberto Garcia. What a joke.

Now we get down to the nitty gritty of the Email, payment of “TAX”, according to them any amount of “compensation” over 10,000€ is subject to the payment of this “TEMPORARY TAX” payment. The rate of this “TAX” is 4% or 2% if pensioners or over 65.

As the “claimants” are British citizens the “TAX” will be refunded within 14 days!

So why the need to pay this “TAX” if it will be refunded in such a short time, well we can guess, the chances are once it is paid there will suddenly be “other legal charges” which need to be paid, or they will have disappeared with the money.

They then offer two forms of payment of the “COMPENSATION” direct from the court, either a bank transfer to your own account, which you will then need to give your account details. Hang on, didn’t they warn about giving details over?

The other method to receive the “COMPENSATION” is by cheque, which they say will take around 14 days to arrive. The chances are as we have seen with similar scams the cheque will be a forgery.

The Email then ends with the “mobile” telephone number which is for the “English Department” and an offer via Email of information on “how to protect yourself from fraud”. Well, Inside Timeshare can tell you how to do that and that is not to believe these crooks!

Below is the Email in full.

If you have had a call or received an Email from “Banco de España” with a Gmail address please use our contact page with all the information you have, it is through you the readers that we are then able to give these warnings.

From: Banco de España <[email protected]>

To: Clients email address

Sent: Date & time email sent

Subject: BANCO DE ESPAÑA (Client Ref No)

Dear Mr&Mrs XXXXXX

We wish to inform you that we have tried contacting you via telephone call as we have received a notification from the court in Malaga. 

Translation of notification:

‘The bank of Spain wish to inform you that we have received a document from the court of Malaga, Juzgados de Málaga, Calle Fiscal Luis Portero García, 0, 29010 Málaga, Spain, regarding a compensation claim from the director of the company “European Finance Solutions, EFS, Excalibur, Level 9 Resolutions SL, Sun Travel International, Half Moon Holdings, Principle Travel, Simple Timeshare Sales, Freewall Solutions, End Vacation, Iberian Dream Homes, Holiday Rentals Direct, Breakaway Vacation, CMC Accounts, Selling Time, Timeshare Resale, Emerald Rock Holdings, Blue Chip, Blue Diamond, Fast Line, etc”.

In your case it showed that you had paid money in to account/s of the company/s in mention. May we inform you that your information was found among their bank statements as having paid them money. This may have been done by credit card, debit card, Western Union, money gram, bankers draft, Ukash vouchers, etc.

May we also remind you that they traded under many company names, if you have paid any other company it is most then likely linked to these companies.

These companies claimed to be investment companies, mediation companies, resale companies, share holding companies, lawyers, etc.

The document states that the director of aforementioned company has been found guilty of fraud and money laundering in Europe.

The Judge at the hearing ruled that all remaining funds in accounts linked to the aforementioned company is to be divided equally amongst claimants, as there was insufficient evidence of how much each client of theirs had paid, as they traded under many different company names, they used many different payment methods and many different bank accounts.

May we inform you that we have heard from other victims of fraud that they have been contacted by third parties in other countries, claiming to be courts, or companies that can claim money back, this information is wrong, please may we advise that you be very careful with whom you deal with and if any company or any third party asks for your credit or debit card details, DO NOT GIVE THAT INFORMATION TO THEM. Since 2011 it has been illegal for anyone to request that information and take payment when the matter has anything to do with timeshare.

Please note that there is a post on mindtimeshare stating this information is false, may we inform you that mindtimeshare is owned by a man called Alberto Garcia, this person was one of the prosecuted directors, owning many fraudulent companies, and for years writing online about other fraudulent and legal companies but not making people aware of the companies owned by him. He owned many of the fraudulent companies in Spain claiming to be notaries and Lawyers, defrauding people out of thousands of pounds. Now there is a woman writing on his behalf as Alberto Garcia has been prosecuted. May we inform you that if you are not to claim the money owed to you, the company that took the money from you has a right to claim back the money themselves, as if it is not claimed, in the eyes of the law you have not been defrauded, this may be another reason why this has been written online. May we inform you that we are starting by taking legal action against them for false accusations against the Banco de España

In the case of MR&MRS XXXXXXXX contact number 0044XXXXXXXX  total of £27,391 is due to be remitted.

Issues surrounding money laundering problems in Spain mean that amounts over €10,000 are to be checked for money laundering and fraud purposes.

Having run all checks against your payment it has been approved as it has been classed as a ‘compensation claim’ and will be sent directly to you from the courts.

Spanish tax laws dictate that amounts greater than €10.000 relating to compensation payments are subject to a temporary tax payment which must be paid in advance of authorisation being granted to release your funds.

The temporary tax payment is 4%.

If you are a pensioner or over the age of 65 the temporary tax is lowered to 2%.

As a British resident you are not liable for Spanish tax and therefore this is classed as a temporary payment which will be refunded to you within 14 working days of receipt.

The amount payable is £1,095.64.

The amount payable if you are a pensioner is of £547.82.

Upon receipt of funds we will apply for the necessary authorisation on your behalf, this is a formality after-which you have two options to receive your payment, either bank transfer, this takes 24/48 hours to clear in your account or you may be paid via cheque, we do ask for you to allow for a week for the cheque to arrive as it will be sent from Spain.

Please note that should you decide to proceed and claim your compensation you will no longer be able to take any further legal action against the aforementioned director of the aforementioned companies.

Should you require any further clarification you may reply to this email with any questions you have, if proceeding you will need to inform us in advance which method of payment you prefer.

You may contact your case handler on the following number 0034 602 576 406 please ask to speak to the English department.

If you wish to receive via e-mail information on how to protect yourself against fraud please notify us.

Please find the website of the bank of Spain below, you may also find this by typing Banco de España or Bank of Spain in google.

Banco de España 

With kind regards.

Administration.

Bank of Spain, Banco de España.

Calle de Alcalá, 48, Madrid, Spain, 28014.

0034602576406

Start the Week: Information Received

Inside Timeshare has received information about another Cold Calling company Sim Legal Services, this in itself is not a problem provided that Data Protection laws are adhered to, the problem is the nature of the calls.

 

The company is owned by Jeroen Martijn Brussel, there does not seem to be a website attached and any searches bring up warnings to Dutch speaking owners on two different websites:

https://timesharealarm.com/sim-legal-services/

https://www.timesharestop.nl/sim-legal-services/

Unfortunately so far we have not had a chance to have these translated, but there do seem to be some very serious concerns about Sim Legal Services, with the mention of several other companies they appear to be linked with. JB Legal and Timeshare Reclaim Consulting.

As for JB Legal, again a search of the internet finds no website, although there are several companies with a similar name including a genuine law firm in the United States. This makes it very difficult for any potential client to do the necessary due diligence checks.

Timeshare Reclaim Consulting do have a website and are known to Inside Timeshare, although we have never had any concern or reason to mention them in any article.

The problem is with Sim Legal and what they are telling potential clients, one of our readers spoke with them and was very disturbed by what they were told. In the phone call they tell clients that they used to work for CLA, (Inside Timeshare has no knowledge of this), but since CLA are not doing what they promise, they are now working with a better company called TRC, all to give themselves a semblance of credibility.

The question is, are the management of TRC aware of the tactics of Sim Legal Services, the fact that they are making accusations against a competitor who is in the same vicinity and happens to be the leading law firm in timeshare litigation, in order to talk clients into signing up with them and then passing them to TRC?

If not, they will be now, as far as we are concerned, for any caller to make assertions about another company in order to “sign up” a client is to say the least a sign that they themselves cannot be trusted.

Also are they aware of how much Sim Legal are charging clients before sending passing them to TRC, according to the two Dutch websites Sim Legal are charging extortionate amounts.

All we can say is TRC need to be aware that firms such as Sim Legal Services will not do their business any favours, it will in the end come back to haunt them, they will be tarred with the same brush.

In another strange enquiry, we have been asked what is mindtimeshare doing now?

It appears that they have moved on from being a consumer association to something else. Our enquirer has told us that mindtimeshare is actively emailing those who have contacted them and recommending a firm for taking out litigation against clients timeshare companies. Apparently it appears that this company is TRC, mentioned above.

Just to recap, at one time, mindtimeshare was funded by the industry, the Resorts Development Organisation, this was under the tenure of the now discredited Alberto Garcia. Under his direction, mindtimeshare attacked any company which threatened the industry. He eventually got his comeuppance, and the RDO withdrew funding.

Since then Mindtimeshare has had to find its own way and began to change how it wrote their blogs, to be honest, they became more factual and evidence based, giving a more balance view. But obviously funds must have been a problem.

There is no problem with making a recommendation, but if what our reader has told us is true, making a deal to use your own client database to secure clients for one firm, does not appear to be conducive to the ideals of an independent consumer association. This subject was also a question that we posed in the article below.

http://insidetimeshare.com/alberto-garcia-steps-down-as-director-of-mindtimeshare/

 

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to our Friday’s Letter from America, this week Wayne Robinson explains why it is often very difficult to cancel after purchasing a timeshare, but first a quick look at Europe.

Earlier this week it came to our attention that one of the largest tour operators TUI had been advertising weeks at Anfi Emerald for 1000€ p.p.p week, this was for a 1 bed deluxe apartment and included flights, transfers and breakfast. Now when we consider that members have paid thousands for their floating weeks along with the annual maintenance fees, yet we constantly hear from them that there is no availability, it makes you wonder what is going on?

This is not just a problem with Anfi, we have heard from many timeshare members that they are constantly having trouble booking, yet they see their own resorts being advertised on the various booking websites. Is it fair that these people pay thousands for what they are told is exclusive to members and find they can in many cases book cheaper than their maintenance fees, without having to pay the initial purchase extortionate price.

In another twist, mindtimeshare which formerly under the now discredited Alberto Garcia, was funded by the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation), has just published what can only be described as a rebuke of their former paymasters.

It revolves around the liquidation of Enduria Travel, also known as the Travel Shop and was based in Gran Canaria, they were also affiliate members of the RDO. In their article, mindtimeshare explained that they actually expressed concerns to the RDO about this company, but the RDO still accepted their membership. All we can say is how things have changed.

Today is what everyone is calling Black Friday, but at the start of the week it was for Anfi BLACK MONDAY!

Canarian Legal Alliance received on that day alone 12, yes 12 sentences against Anfi in favour of their clients, with over 900,000€ awarded, plus all contracts were declared null and void. They also received another sentence from the High Court in Tenerife against Silverpoint. In all this year CLA have secured over 11 million euros in awarded claims.

Now for this weeks article.

5 Strategies Timeshare Resorts Use To Prevent Cancellations

By Wayne Robinson

Black Friday November 23, 2018

Today is Black Friday in America, celebrated by standing in long lines at shopping malls to be followed by Cyber Monday, when stay at home shoppers shop the internet. I hope you will add my book Everything About Timeshares: Before, During and After the Sale onto your Cyber Monday shopping list.

Available through Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everything-about-timeshares-wayne-c-robinson/1129749757?ean=2940161600962

Many timeshare buyers do not even think about the contract they signed until after the rescission period has passed. Given that buyers are often not allowed onto the booking site until after the rescission period, the product the consumer bought is for the most part bought sight unseen and untried. Anything we can do shed light on these important rescission days could save the timeshare buyer untold grief and money, should they come to regret their purchase.

The Rescission Period     

The rescission period is the time allotted by local governments for consumers to review their purchase and legally cancel their timeshare. The length of time varies by state, but is typically three to ten days. In Aruba, and in some American states, there is no rescission period.

If the timeshare buyer cancels their purchase during the rescission period, the government requires timeshare companies to give purchasers a full refund of any monies they have received. There is nothing more frustrating for a sales team than to spend 6-8 hours making a sale that later cancels. Sales agents and their managers will do everything they can to prevent new owners from cancelling their timeshare purchase during the rescission period.

Here are 5 strategies that many timeshare resorts use to prevent new timeshare owners from cancelling during the rescission period.

  1.      Sales agents will avoid the rescission clause that is included in the documents.

Although the rescission clause is clearly written in the documents, many timeshare agents or Legal Verification Officers (VLO) will avoid mentioning this very important item. Many reps will discuss other matters to avoid the clause that outlines the rescission.

The resort’s management will not allow sales reps to mention the rescission period during the sale presentation.  Mentioning it could lead to disciplinary action or being fired.

This is how many timeshare sales reps avoid having their sales cancelled.

Most timeshare buyers will not review the paperwork during the rescission period. After a 6-8 hour grueling sales presentation, the last thing the new owner wants to do is review all the legal jargon included in the documents.  If the rescission period is not mentioned by the staff, too often the buyer is not even aware of it. In some states trial products have no rescission period.

Each state rescission period is listed in this chart provided by ARDA, the American Resort Development Association.  There have been more than a few complaints from timeshare members who were denied release, despite being only a half day late. Instructions on how to rescind are buried deep within the contract, and sometimes instructions are vague.

http://arda.org/uploadedFiles/ARDA/Government_Affairs/Government_Affairs_Call_Out_Boxes/RescissionPeriodsDec2012.pdf

  1.      They will follow-up to overcome Buyer’s Remorse

Photo by Samantha Hurley by Burst

It is important for the timeshare sales staff to keep in touch with their new clients shortly after the sale to prevent them from cancelling.  Most clients will have buyer’s remorse and reconsider their purchase after the buyer has taken the time to think about their purchase, research the company that they just spent $21,000 on (on average), to ensure that they did the right thing. For this reason, sales reps need to be available just in case the client wants to cancel. After all, it might have been a very expensive and unexpected purchase that was sold on emotion

According to a Redweek article, Dr. Amy Gregory, assistant professor at the University of Florida has been studying the impact of buyer regret and remorse and rescission decisions. She says that most timeshare buyers regret their decisions.

A whopping 85 percent of all buyers regret their purchase (for money, fear, confusion, intimidation, distrust and other reasons).”

Dr. Gregory’s findings are as follows:

  • The average rescission rate is 15% – essentially identical to the daily average percentage of people who buy a timeshare following a sales presentation.
  • 85% of all buyers regret their purchase, citing reasons including money, fear, confusion, intimidation, and distrust.
  • 41% of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase but ended up doing so; 30% were neutral prior to buying, but came to regret their decision.
  • 95% of all buyers go back to their resort and sales team for more information after the sale, usually within one to three days, seeking more information about maintenance fees, resale options, and pricing alternatives.

Some sales reps will treat their new owners out for a nice dinner to help “bond the relationship.”  This tactic works well as the new owners are getting to know the sales agent on a personal basis rather than as a sales person.  After all, the salesperson used their own money and time to take the new owners out for dinner. Why would they consider canceling with “their new friend?”

  1.      They will follow-up by phone.

If the new timeshare owners are on vacation some resorts will require the sale staff that made the sale to meet with the new clients the next day, or call them within 24 hours. This is to overcome buyer’s remorse, and to answer any questions or provide clarifications.  Often, the new owners forget the verbiage made during the presentation.

  1.      The resort may reduce the sales price.

If the new timeshare owners decide that they want to cancel, the resort can offer to reduce the price. Often this “second round” rendezvous could require another 2-3 hours of negotiations. Many take the bait and purchase at the lower price, or some keep the original agreement.  Unfortunately, the timeshare company may not change the original rescission period, and the new owners now have less time to reconsider their purchase.

Consumers need to be aware that the “today only” price will always be available the next day, week, month or maybe even years later.

  1.      The resort may offer more gifts.

If the resort offered gifts, there are hundreds or thousands of additional monies that was left on the table because the sale did not exceed their “bottom line” price.

If the new owners want to cancel, the management can offer more gifts to “sweeten the deal.”  These free gifts might include free accommodations, free meals, free activities, free or discounted RCI weeks or other options.

New owners must be aware of the new terms that might have entered the contract.  These terms could include paying rack rates for the free accommodations or paying the highest advertised prices for any gifts just in case they decide to cancel the deal. This action could add into the thousands of dollars if they decide to cancel.

Timeshare resorts will use every strategy that they can, including embarrassment and condescendence to keep the sale, but it’s the consumer’s final decision to end the relationship or move forward. Therefore, it is imperative to read all the documents thoroughly before signing, or present it to an attorney during the rescission period.

Wayne C. Robinson is the author of Everything About Timeshares:  Before, During and After The Sale. He is a former timeshare executive who is advocating with consumers to assist them their timeshares problems, and to help consumers better understand the timeshare business from an “insider’s” perspective.

For more information, visit his website at www.everythingabouttimeshares.com

Related article: About Wayne Robinson

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-21/

Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced:

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you Wayne for your contribution this week, it is certainly an eye opener.

If you have any questions or comments about this or any other article, then Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you. We hope that you have a great weekend and join us again next week.