One year later, they received a $675 bill from their timeshare association asking for maintenance fees. They learned the seminar company never transferred their timeshare ownership.
"It just made me feel like going and hunting them up," McCarty said.
Fortunately, the McCartys contacted authorities, and the state was able to track down the company and retrieve their money.
But Gainer said many people do not report the scams to authorities.
"Getting people to step forward and report their victimization - that is our No. 1 problem," Gainer said.
He said that in addition to not being able to help recoup their losses, a person's failure to report the fraud makes it harder for authorities to identify firms actively engaged in the scheme.
Federal Trade Commission attorney Fil de Banate said consumers need to be wary of any solicitations they receive regarding timeshares.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is - that means do your research," he said.
De Banate said to check with the state auditor's office to see if the company is legitimate and to go on the Internet and type the company's name followed by the word "scam" into the search engine to see if anything comes up.
He also said consumers should never pay fees or cash up front during transactions. If they do pay any up-front costs, he said consumers should pay by credit card instead.
"If you pay by credit card, you could at least try to dispute a fraudulent charge with the credit card company," de Banate said.
Earlier this year, the state Legislature passed a bill expanding the auditor's ability to regulate timeshare resellers.
Gainer said anyone contacted by the resale firm - especially those offering seminars in local hotels - should call his office at 888-724-3982 to report the solicitation.
"Contact us and let us know when, where and the time (of the seminar), and we will make sure we will have an investigator there," Gainer said.
"If they are a company that is to our knowledge not in the best interest of the consumer, we will immediately issue a cease and desist order and ask them to leave the state of West Virginia," he said.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.
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