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Quintana Roo real estate associations respond to U.S. statement on fraud

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — The Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals (AMPI) has responded to a U.S. real estate and timeshare fraud statement made last week.

“The AMPI Southeast region requests the Embassy and Consulate of the United States in Mexico to recommend that their compatriots contact and/or hire a real estate professional accredited by the state government to avoid conflicts, as well as attend the procedures established in this matter by law in Mexico,” the real estate association said.

The comment was made by Miguel Ángel Lemus Mateos, President of the Southeast region of the Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios (AMPI) in response to a recent statement issued by the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico.

“U.S. citizens should exercise caution when considering time-share investments or purchasing real estate and be aware of the aggressive tactics used by some sales representatives. Before initiating a real estate purchase or time-share investment, U.S. citizens should consult with a Mexican attorney to learn about important regulations and laws that govern real estate property.

“Although there are different types of timeshare fraud, the schemes often involve the following: (1) third-party scammers, who claim to have ready buyers, make unsolicited purchase offers to timeshare owners; (2) if offers are accepted, scammers make requests of timeshare owners for payments of advance fees and taxes, supposedly to facilitate or expedite the sale with assurances of reimbursement upon closing; and (3) once multiple payments have been made to the scammers, timeshare owners eventually realize that the offers were fictitious, that there are no buyers, and that their money is gone.

“In 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a joint warning to consumers concerning fraudsters targeting owners of timeshares in Mexico. Individuals who have been victimized by this type of scam are encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

“At times, perpetrators of timeshare fraud misuse government agency names in attempts to appear legitimate. For example, perpetrators may call victims and claim to represent OFAC, demanding a payment in exchange for the release of funds that the perpetrator claims OFAC has “blocked.” Today, OFAC is also issuing an alert regarding such scams, warning that individuals may falsely claim to represent OFAC in furtherance of their fraud.”

Other AMPI presidents from Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Chetumal emphasized that in Quintana Roo, there is a Real Estate Law and Real Estate purchase and sale operations for Mexicans and foreigners, which are regulated and carried out with legal certainty.

The Association said that a professional real estate agent must provide their services as established by the Law for the Provision of Real Estate Services with registration and accreditation from the state government and that the public notary accredits the personality of buyer and seller.

They also explained that in the Public Registry of Property and Commerce, all purchases and sales of real estate houses, land or condominiums have a registration folio that can be publicly consulted before any domain transfer operation.