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Old 07-06-2019, 03:43 PM   #181
hilaw
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Originally Posted by AquaDyne View Post
That's the max rate that anyone should pay. Much like buying new vs. resale, it would be insane to buy resale above Disney's price but many people do it below Disney's price. Renting from a broker is the next best thing, as they protect from scammers, allow credit cards with extra fees, etc... and that's at $18 right now, $17.50 once you account for the benefits of using credit.


I'll ask again, is there a thread on this board that covers what fair/low/market rates are? I've been an owner for over 15 years and recall the days when $10 was the going rate. When I only rent out rarely, I'm pleasantly surprised to see higher rates. Honestly, I'm happy to rent out for anything above the rate of my annual fees, and find the convenience of the brokers superior to doing all the tire-kicking hand holding one has to do to rent here. I have rented out at $15 and am not a scammer... so I didn't identify that as a below market rate, from my own perspective.

Also $15 is above the $14.50 reimbursement rate of David's, the biggest broker, and the one who sponsors this forum.

Points are essentially real estate, and any agent will tell you a fair price is what the market will bear. I had posted for a month for the BCV reservation I wanted (I could do it myself at 7 months but wanted home resort premium) and couldn't find anyone. SO sure, I was ripe for a scam. And no, I didn't do enough due diligence BEFORE being saved by my bank. I did the "check they were an owner" step but missed the red flags after that.

Anyway.... I was hoping to help anyone else who's being actively scammed right now and offering insight into this particular scammer's methods so that those doing Due Diligence can add this particular trick to the things they're worried about.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:33 PM   #182
ajc
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Originally Posted by Tessa View Post
I really do appreciate reading this thread whenever it is updated because it does remind me to be cautious not just with DVC issues, but others as well. For what it is worth, Craigslist is full of scammers, and reading the experiences here on MO saved my butt recently (and $2500).
MO is awesome on so many levels; your point is well taken by this MO!
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:03 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by SUSIEQ2 View Post
I hope one day someone will be able to provide us the details of this most recent scam.
So here's more details on what happened. This appears to have been a rather sophisticated scam, and I'm embarrassed to say I missed several red flags that could have helped stop this earlier. Sharing the methods used in the hopes that others can learn things to watch out for. Normal font relates facts; I have included "speculation" comments in italics.

I posted on the RTB for a BCV reservation. While an owner myself, I wanted to get home resort priority. I was contacted via PM on 6/16 by kulick, offering the reservation at $15/pp, signing name as "David J Byrum". Speculation: A little odd for a formal name in a PM, but allowed easy search of DVC owner records matching that name, perhaps intentional.

I quickly searched DVC owner records and found the indicated name, accepted within 12 minutes, provided reservation details, and waited.

Initial response took 2 days (excuse: a cruise). Speculation: Very odd post and not check response for so long?

I confirmed I was still interested, sent me a contract via email. The reservation # in the contract matched up to a valid reservation on MDE. Email instructions for payment with the contract were a little unclear (exact words "scan it back to me with your payment receipts.") Speculation: scammer's first language is probably not English, how hard is it to say 'send a check'?

Because the contract (taken from this website) was more clear about the check, I confirmed that a mailed check was desired. The contract directed the check be made out to a Cynthia G Byrum.

I did not notice this at the time, but there was enough information available on the internet to determine the following, that I figured out later:
- David J Byrum (DVC owner) was married to (co-owner) Vanessa Byrum, and their signatures were notarized with Australian passports as IDs.
- The signature on the contract was an exact copy-paste (including "white out" gaps to remove where the ink overwrote text) of the notarized signature on the DVC deed. Speculation: While I understand digital signatures are a thing, one usually creates a new clean signature the first time rather than copy from an in-person notarized signature that requires image editing.
- Cindy Byrum at the address the check was mailed to was unmarried (divorced) and Byrum is her maiden name, not married name. Social media profiles include pictures only with her son, not any spouse.
- All emails from "David Byrum" were sent about the same time of day (morning in US, late afternoon in Europe) from a yahoo email account via a web interface. The IP addresses resolve to Yahoo-UK servers in Dublin, Ireland, commonly used by email-spammers, hackers, and others to hide their IP. Speculation: Intentionally hiding identity and minimizing time online to reduce ability to be traced.

I mailed the check, and thought nothing of it until about a week later when I received a call from my bank, inquiring whether I had written the check (I had). They called back a second time indicating that there were red flags on Cynthia Byrum's account, including the fact that she could not explain what the check was for. Speculation: Cindy did not make the reservation either and may be a victim, or co-conspirator without full knowledge. Investigation ongoing.

Alerted to fraud potential, I revisited the email from "David Byrum" with the contract. The text of the email included a confirmation number that I entered into MDE and found didn't exist. (It was actually different than the one in the contract.) Speculation: This individual was probably trying to scam multiple people and copying the same email and forgot to change that.

Briefly thinking my reservation had been cancelled, I PM'd the "last 10" PM contacts on Kulick's profile on this site. One of those other MO members did reply back telling me they had their reservation cancelled after the check was cashed and "David Byrum" was promising but not providing a refund.

I began an email exchange with "David Byrum" asking for more information about who he was, contact info, references, etc. Stuff I should have asked for before sending payment, obviously. He refused to provide anything, continuing to say "don't worry, you're on the right path" and indicating the contract had contact info for his "wife". The evasive behavior continued to raise red flags.

In communication with my bank regarding the issue, I was informed that someone had been calling Cindy's bank pretending they were me, demanding that I authorize that the check be cleared. At this point I was 100% certain this was a scam and made my initial post here.

There are still a few questions out there but I'm not privy to the investigation so we'll all just have to wonder for a while. How was the reservation made? Speculation: The scammer is using a third party to make reservations, acting as the middleman and keeping the money. Or, some DVC member's account completely unrelated to either Byrum family has been hacked. Why didn't Cindy Byrum know what the check was for? Speculation: suggests she was not sending the emails, and some third party is accessing her account. Who was the male who called Cindy's bank? Speculation: Likely the scammer, and confirms a third party involved beyond Cindy.
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:03 PM   #184
SUSIEQ2
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Thank you so much for continuing to keep us updated. So sorry this happened to you.
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:28 PM   #185
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Crazy. If scammers put as much effort into real jobs as their scams they would probably be very successful.

Were you able to cancel payment before the check was cashed?
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:34 PM   #186
AquaDyne
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Were you able to cancel payment before the check was cashed?
Yes, but another member here wasn't so lucky. I guess I'm fortunate that I wasn't the first one? And that the bank was on top of it.
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:41 PM   #187
ermindy1133
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Yes, but another member here wasn't so lucky. I guess I'm fortunate that I wasn't the first one? And that the bank was on top of it.
Sounds like your bank was really looking out for you!
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:43 PM   #188
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Originally Posted by ermindy1133 View Post
Sounds like your bank was really looking out for you!
A large amount check in a less active/low balance account will raise flags.
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:50 PM   #189
SUSIEQ2
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Yes, but another member here wasn't so lucky. I guess I'm fortunate that I wasn't the first one? And that the bank was on top of it.
Really wish that person had posted something here about their experience. It might have stopped this scammer before they got to you.
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Old 07-15-2019, 03:01 PM   #190
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Yes, but another member here wasn't so lucky. I guess I'm fortunate that I wasn't the first one? And that the bank was on top of it.

Wow.....That was a close call on not losing your money.
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