Beware offer of free airline tickets for Outrigger timeshares

The Better Business Bureau of Northwest Indiana is warning consumers nationwide of a travel scam promising free airline tickets in exchange for a presentation on a questionable timeshare.

The scam surfaced in Connecticut, according to the BBB there, involving letters sent to consumers saying they qualify for two free airline tickets. The letters come from Arizona-based sweepstakes marketing company Nicholson Barnes, recipient of an F rating from the BBB for issues with misleading advertising and the company's links to the companies Southwest Travel and Hoffman Sims.

The letter requires consumers to sign up for a 90-minute presentation in order to get the tickets. Presentations take place at Triton Travel Group, a franchise of Oklahoma-based Outrigger Vacation Club -- the target of a lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General.

Outrigger Vacation Club allegedly took money from consumers who purchased vacation club memberships, that state's lawsuit says, but never gave out promised prizes and benefits. With an average membership price at $4,700, consumers lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Ohio attorney general's office warns that instant travel offers, coupled with overly aggressive sales reps, are generally too good to be true.

Before using a travel club, ask questions about additional fees, overbooking and how deposits are returned.

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