JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Fraudsters are targeting Missourians who own timeshare properties in Mexico.

According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Securities Division, these persistent grifters will contact property owners posing as a representative of a brokerage firm, travel agency, title company, or escrow agent, and promise to pay large sums of money for the property or the individual’s claim on the property.

In some cases, the scammers have used official-looking documents, including contracts and title paperwork. They may also design fake websites that mimic legitimate companies but contain false information.

“With the advance of technology and the availability of personal information online, fraudsters prey upon the good nature of citizens through sophisticated schemes to steal and deceive,” said Ashcroft. “If you receive an unsolicited call, take the time to investigate before turning over any of your hard-earned money.”

Victims are told they need to pay a tax or fee on the timeshare property. Sometimes, the con artists will pose as representatives of the Mexican government or financial institution in making these demands. On at least one occasion, a scammer convinced an elderly victim to liquidate assets in their IRA and send proceeds to the caller.

If you receive a solicitation or suspect someone you know is being targeted for this sort of scheme, you’re encouraged to call the state’s toll-free investor protection hotline at 800-721-7996 or the Missouri Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline at 800-392-8222. You can also file a complaint online at www.MissouriProtectsInvestors.com.