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Officials warn consumers of the summer timeshare scam

Sometimes they seem too good to be true – a summertime vacation offer you can’t refuse.

But one scam victim recently found out their dream timeshare purchase from an “Oklahoma City company” turned out to be a one-way ticket to nowhere.

The Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma said a Georgia family was recently contacted by Lions Gate Estates, LLC, who offered them a timeshare in the tropical paradise of Cancun for the bargain price of $26,700.

“I think they got a postcard and they called in to be able to find out more information about a timeshare,” BBB CEO Kitt Letcher said, “and actually paid into a company that had a really great offer.”

Letcher said the victim sent more than $11,000 up front, only to watch it go down the drain.

Lions Gate Estates claimed their office was in downtown Oklahoma City.

NewsChannel 4 crews couldn’t find them Wednesday after stopping by their advertised location, and the building manager said that company never set up shop.

“Sometimes people come to us and want us to book something that’s in a magazine,” Bentley Hedges Travel President and CEO Angie Hendricks said. “We don’t book with just anybody.”

Hendricks said a company wanting money up front is a red flag.

She says they should have a footprint in the neighborhood, so check with the BBB or Chamber of Commerce.

Ask if you could meet them in person and find out if they have a track record of satisfied customers.

“If you find somebody you’re really interested in, ask for some references,” Hendricks said. “Do you have anybody else who has participated who has taken advantage of this offer?”

Letcher says always use a credit card to book vacation deals because those companies often investigate fraud and you might get your money back.