LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- If you want to avoid being a victim of a scam, here is one rule to keep in mind. Never -- and we mean never -- send money up front to someone who is buying something from you, unless you know them well.
In this Rip-Off Alert, thousands of victims have learned the lesson the hard way.
"People aren't very trustworthy these days, and there are a lot of scammers out there today," said Betty, who knows from experience. She lost thousands of dollars in a timeshare resale scam.
"I received a phone call, and they asked me if I wanted to sell my time share, and I would say yes."
Two days later the company called to say Betty had a buyer but added that they needed money up front.
So Betty sent $2,000 for what she was told were closing costs. When she called to follow up, all she got were excuses.
"They said they were processing the paperwork. That person backed out,” she said. “Never materialized I realized it was a scam then."
"Many victims fall for it,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Adam Latham. “They send them a check through the mail or credit card, and then what happens is their time share doesn't sell."
And they are out the up-front money sent. To make matters worse. Betty's name was put on a lead list, so other telemarketers could now get her number.
"Some weeks my phone was ringing off the wall,” Betty said.
"They will not leave you alone,” Latham said. “They will call you morning, noon and night, and they will call over and over again."
Postal inspectors say there are tens of thousands of victims of this scam and up to $40 million in losses.