Scammers love to prey on consumers who are at their most vulnerable — during difficult economic times — and the timeshare business isn’t immune from their damage, according to an industry leader who is warning would-be timeshare sellers to tread cautiously.

Indeed, attorneys general in Arkansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Oklahoma recently have issued warnings about dubious timeshare-resale companies — particularly about reseller companies charging upfront fees that might run into the thousands of dollars, according to Howard Nusbaum, chief executive of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), a trade group.

"This economy brings out the best and worst in people," said Nusbaum, who warns that timeshare owners who promise huge profits at resale aren’t to be trusted.

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