This warning goes out for a fake notary office in Portugal calling themselves Ordem Dos Notarios. They pretend to be the notaries working on behalf of the Lisboa Tribunais (Portuguese Supreme Court)
Timeshare owners, who had dealings in the past with bogus resale companies in Spain, are being told by the Lisboa Tribunais that these companies have been tracked and closed down in Portugal.
All assets have been seized and there is money blocked in the bank accounts in order to pay back to the victims.
In order to obtain this refund of the lost money, the timeshare consumer needs to taxes. For each company the consumer dealt with there is a charge of £450. This can be arranged through the Ordem Dos Notarios.
Ordem Dos Notarios requests these payments by Western Union. They send the consumer forms by email that supposedly are the receipts from the court, with a display of all kinds of official logos. These forms are fake.
Once the payment is made through Western union into the name of an individual, they call back again to the Timeshare owner and request more money for more taxes.
Please note that this is a FAKE company! There is no such company as Ordem Dos Notarios or Lisboa Tribunais calling victims of timeshare resale companies, and neither have these companies been closed down in Portugal or raided by the police!
The telephone numbers used by Ordem Dos Notarios: 00351 964659388 and 00351 92655488
If you have been contacted by Lisboa Tribunais or Ordem Dos Notarios then please DO NOT MAKE ANY PAYMENT!
Please let us know if these fake companies have approached you! You can email us at email@example.com or place a comment on this blog.
A cautionary tale – I was cold-called by someone representing Ordem dos Notários in late July 2015. They said that legal action had been taken against timeshare disposal companies I had been in dispute with (the company names and dispute details were genuine, I don’t know how they got the details or my mobile number and e-mail address). Compensation was waiting for me in a blocked bank account in Lisbon, and I needed to send cash by MoneyGram to pay the magistrates fees. MoneyGram was necessary because the Portuguese authorities required that someone check my passport. The call was followed up by an official-looking e-mail (although in retrospect the fact that it was signed by a man with the same name as the President of Portugal should have rung alarm bells). I stupidly paid, and they came back for more “to pay off the tax liabilities”, sweetening the pill by asking for my IBAN number so they could transfer the liberated funds to me. At this point I did what I should have done all along and Googled “Ordem dos Notários scam”. The matter is now with the UK fraud authorities, and I am grateful to Mindtimeshare for the support as well. I should note that the e-mails contained a lot of factually correct information (no doubt unlawfully obtained), and the phone calls were highly persuasive, the representative expressing apparently genuine hurt and anger that there could be any question of her not telling the truth. She suggested that her organisation was providing a service in the public interest, and complications arose because of interactions between tax and legal systems in the EU which were constraints within which Portuguese magistrates had to operate. The main lessons: don’t take cold calls, keep in touch with others in a similar situation to pool knowledge, and never use untraceable cash transfers except for close friends and family.